Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sicamous, BC - What You Can't See

On November 2, 2017, we were greeted at the door by the homeowner and introduced to his two cats. Over the years, we had driven past the Municipal District of Sicamous, British Columbia, on our way west to Salmon Arm and beyond, or on our travels east to Revelstoke and away. Today, we stopped and were given the opportunity to explore the area for the next five months. We are professional house and pet sitters.

What you can't see when you travel past and fast along the Trans-Canada Highway, are the goings on and the ambassadors of the town.

Dairy Cow Manure - Pungent!
Our first walk-about began by turning left at the end of the driveway and strolling casually along Sherlock Road. The overwhelming smell wafting around us originated from the manure being spread onto the field in front of the house.

We came upon a trail-head marker. The Parksville Estates Trailhead directs you down a wide path along the back of houses, beside a large treed area where you come upon a park.

It becomes obvious that the practice of burning garbage in the backyard is common in Sicamous.

Parksville Estates Pathway
We carried on through the park, stopped in briefly at the community arena and headed toward the shopping plaza. There we met several Sicamous ambassadors, including the lovely clerks at the Bargain Shop, other patients at the Sicamous Health Centre giving themselves up for blood samples, and the charming owner of the Painted Book Shop. The folks we met on our first excursion were kind and helpful. "Welcome to Sicamous", they said.

Later that day, we drove down to the Riverboat Dock and admired the storage of the resources offered to those who are interested in motoring along Mara Lake.

Riverboat Dock
Returning to town, we stopped at the promenade and enjoyed the serenity of the boardwalk.

Frank standing on the boardwalk

Blessed Is The Spot

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Baha'i Blogging Challenge - Inspiration from the Universal House of Justice

Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, we received a message from the Universal House of Justice forwarded by email from our Baha’i friends located in several clusters across Canada.

The Ridvan message was inspiring.

We've been travelling across British Columbia and the Prairies for nearly three years and have witnessed how the friends are enveloped in the fundamentals of the Plan and how a large number of them are ‘acting on its requirements, and demonstrating rigour in the quality of their response.’

Along the way, we’ve met with believers who are reservoirs of knowledge and resources and with open hearts provided us with their experience and insight.

We take our inspiration from the Universal House of Justice 2017 Ridvan message and apply its objectives to our clear purpose, to meet as many isolated Baha'is as possible and to meet as many new friends as God's guidance allows.

Viewed aright, this year presents the single greatest worldwide opportunity there has ever been for connecting hearts to Bahá’u’lláh. ~ Universal House of Justice 2017 Ridvan Message

Monday, November 27, 2017

Baha'i Blogging Challenge - The Gift of Listening

The Golden Rule poster
Over the years we’ve learned that everyone has a story to tell. One of most respectful gestures we can provide is to listen. Some months ago, on our walk around the Central Alberta community, we met several people at the row of mailboxes. All of the folks in this area pick up their mail there and we made a serious effort to meet as many neighbours as we could, including the Canada Post delivery lady.

We’ve had some delightful conversations including how far some travel to attend church and how some unique religions, like the Two By Twos, are familiar in the area. We listened to their comments and secured a great deal about their tolerance of others and appreciation of their faith.

On occasion, we got to express that as Baha’is we are expected to acquire more knowledge about our Faith by searching truth for ourselves and to listen to others. 

“Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore it must be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and non-progressive it is without the divine life; it is dead.” – Abdu’l-Baha

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Baha'i Blog Challenge - The Day of the Covenant

9-pointed star
It was our distinct pleasure to be asked by the Minister of the United Church in Sicamous, British Columbia to describe to the group gathered at the service today about the Baha’i Faith.

I described briefly that the Baha’i Faith is focused on unity and the purpose of sharing Baha’u’llah’s messages from God are to help guide the earth’s humans to enjoy the privileges of His gifts. 

“You might be pleased to know that today, The Day of the Covenant, is a commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s appointment of His eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha as His successor,” I added.

Later, when the congregation gathered for fellowship, my husband and I had the opportunity to share that Baha’is are committed to remaining united, rather than fragmenting into different sects.

We look forward to attending their service regularly and conducting a Devotional afterwards.

Life is good!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Baha'i Blogging Challenge - Bringing up the Topic of God

Treasure your gifts from God
We spent another hour with our friend who is living in the extended care wing of the local hospital. We are familiar now with some of the other patients being cared for and we’ve shared upbeat open-ended conversations with several of them. One discussion began with one of the aids while she was putting her patient’s hair into a ponytail. The three of us talked about long hair versus short hair and it drew a gathering of more women. I found myself thinking of Baha’u’llah’s words “…complete victory should be achieved through speech and utterance.” 

I said, "God’s provided you with a beautiful head of hair."

She smiled in agreement and described how she had inherited it from her father. We spent the next fifteen minutes talking about gifts from God. Our conversation was interrupted by the chime of the lunch bell. 

We continued to make a habit of chatting with the other occupants of the gentle care facility throughout our four-month stay in the community.

If he teaches because of God’s Will that God be known – and for that reason only – he will receive knowledge and wisdom, and his words will have effect – being made powerful by the Holy Spirit – and will take root in the souls of those who are in the right condition to receive them. – Abdu’l-Baha

Friday, November 24, 2017

Baha'i Blog Challenge - Strangers and Handshakes

Adopt-a- Neighbour

It was our great pleasure to meet two of our neighbours. We had uplifting conversations with both and received an invitation from one to join a local Citizens on Patrol group and asked by the other to drop by soon for a longer visit.

Our daily walks allow us to meet strangers along the way, accept and invite handshakes and most heartwarming, get to meet with them again.

At the COP meeting, we introduced ourselves and settled amongst a group of like-minded friends. We all wanted to be protected, some by linked fences and electronic security systems, others by fellow citizens who drive around and watch for suspicious goings-on in the neighbourhood. What came to mind was my satisfaction that God protects us all.

Later that week, we enjoyed coffee and cake with the other neighbour. He and his wife began the conversation with an introduction to their religion. We listened with open hearts and when they felt satisfied that we understood, we invited them to our home. They accepted. After they had settled in, we introduced ourselves as Baha'is and explained a few of Baha'u'llah's messages. Since then, we've been meeting with them and their friends at the close of their church service when they congregate at the back of their church for fellowship.

"O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'-u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it."  (From a letter dated 23 May 2016 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World)

Blessed Is The Spot

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Baha'i Blog Challenge - Open Heart Conversation

Our excursions today included shopping for a few personal items, gathering the mail and visiting with a friend in the local assisted-living facility.

Our visit with the kindly gentleman was filled with talk of his family. He described all his adult children as determined go-getters and confessed that he could not take all the credit. He told us that his stay-at-home wife was the backbone of the group. After an hour, our visit was interrupted by a nurse who was scheduled to provide her patient with his bath.

We returned home satisfied that our first visit of many to come with this new friend was well received.

Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men—hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 279)

An open heart is well received