A beautiful bunch of words indeed. Although, not a highly acclaimed poem by literary standards, it makes some noise for me on this rainy Sunday afternoon..... 


A poem by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Written 1910


big time love


We met back in 1986. I was in recovery from the highs and lows of a couple of savage years spent in Canada.  Regrouping in Switzerland was supposed to solve all our problems.  The grass is greener there! Hannes and I were going to try and make this thing work out. 

A friend invited us to a downtown Zurich club. The usual -  stage, live music, a DJ, tiered seating and a mosh pit up the front. We slid into one of the back rows up in the balcony. 
First thing to note was that, everyone, I mean everyone, seemed to love the DJ. They were shouting things out to him, dancing and singing – everyone seriously adored him. At first, I thought it was some kind of magic show. Tricky smoke screen.   Paranormal vibe.
I suppose that's why when he looked at me – with those eyes- like I was the only one in the room – it took me by surprise. I hadn't even dressed up. I'd put on a bit of weight in Vancouver. I felt fat.  And my boyfriend was sitting right next to me. It was unnerving. Nice but unnerving. And when I say that he looked at me, it was, instead, a gaze. As if he was looking right through me. He knew everything about me.
We kept going back to the weekly gig, and I'd have the same kind of feeling. I had the impression the DJ wished everyone would just shut up and leave the room so we could be together and get to know each another.
I just cried.  Each time I just sat down and cried buckets of tears. It was embarrassing. He was everything I had been looking for in a friend. And yet I hardly knew him.

He made everyone feel special. 
I was unfaithful right from the start.
He understood.
He also loved others, but it wasn't the same - I think I was unique or at least he made me feel that way. For some reason, I didn't feel the slightest jealousy.

I had heard of his book. A book that made every bestseller list every year. Translated in over 600 languages.  I'd tried to get into it during my university years.  It was tough going. On par with Homer's Odessey or Plato's Republic.  Part One was a family saga with a science fiction quality. The sequel was more straightforward and made some sense. Dylanesque in the way he saw humanity.  Blowing in the wind. 
So now that I had actually met the author, I dusted off the copy we had at home and gave it another try. Still complex. But it was beginning to make sense. 

I contend that the invitation I had all those years ago changed my life. If someone had said that I would meet him and immediately fall for it, I would have laughed. But that was that.  I did. 
Our friendship has been rocky at times.  Heaps of misunderstandings. I've listened to gossip about him and read the reviews which have caused me to think twice.  But, you know what, he hasn't ever done anything wrong by me. I see that way he cares. He's always there for me. His political views and social justice platform shows he gets it. And He keeps on loving me even when I'm in the wrong. 

And today we share another milestone. Resurrection Sunday.  We joke that he has two birthdays. 
I'm making him a panettone and scooping out the middle - empty tomb cake. He'll love it.

I'm Afraid of Me


In 2010 I was ordained.  Ordained as a Pastor, Minister of Religion, Reverend, or member of the clergy. Whatever you want to call it.  To be ordained didn’t seem very significant actually.  It didn’t change anything.  I still did the same tasks, mixed with the same crowd, and cleaned the same house. I struggled for a while. Had I earned it?  At one point I made the decision to just accept it. The small print says that it is indeed a spiritual gift, not of any earthly worth, but given by God in order that I might equip others.

So I began to look instead at honouring the ‘badge’. Ensuring that I represented my ‘uniform’ well. I was to spend time straining to act justly, to love mercy and to try to walk humbly (Micah 6).

Then we moved out of pastoring within a church. We planted ourselves in Vancouver. Here, my pastoral landscape is very different. I don’t serve a particular congregation. I don’t work within the walls of a church. But I have found a new parish. A new set of pews. My parish-in-ers have become more like parish-out-ers.

My pulpit became the street, the bus, my desk, my neighbourhood and anywhere I find myself with other humans.

I have called many of my old practices into question. I am like a Neurosurgeon trained in traditional surgery who now recognises that the key-hole method is the way to go. More organic and gentle. Less brutal. So I am trialling new ways of demonstrating Jesus. Some work – some don’t.   Some believe me, some walk away, some grip my hand and beg me to walk with them.

I have become acutely aware that I am surrounded by a common humanity – we are all in this together.  We are all God’s children – I am just fortunate enough to have been personally introduced – and somehow have sustained a robust belief in the source of that humanity – Christ.  I am called to become deeply affectionate towards all of life.  Called to treasure those that God has made.  Wanting the best for them.  This must be the Love.

The lines in the sand are faint now – I am less sure of who is in and who is out – we are all being pushed forward in this wave of life.  I surely just want to point others towards hope. I want those around me to see the Jesus that I love.

I am, however, afraid of me. Afraid of my own ability to fail in this. I often turn bad. No-one is looking. My tendency is to draw those lines of judgement again.   My religious bigotry lurking nearby. It’s tough. I’m still a pastor.  A very ordinary one.




When you see another year approaching you might choose to ignore the fact that there is an open window right in front of you to see a fresh opportunity for growth and wellbeing. I’m not one, for setting new year’s resolutions lightly, just because it hasn’t worked out for the majority of people, it just doesn’t work out without a concrete plan and strategy.

New year’s solutions are usually faded away by mid-march and we’re longing for the spring or summer to bring perhaps the change we do desperately wanting. We tend to look to the sun and warm weather to show us the way forward in life. I’m learning to set goals into my daily routine which are helping me to stay on track and achieve actually the changes I like to see for my life, even if the sun doesn’t shine. “Embracing the New” is something I take seriously and I’ve built a four-word strategy around it. I liken it to scaffolding erected to ensure that my house is going to be built for 2018 and beyond. 

I’d like to share those four words with you, in the hope that you can benefit from it and build your life around it also.




...staying focused and speak out what you’re hoping to achieve, being determined to pursue your set out goals, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem to others. This is about you.





...walking and staying active, not only physically, but training your mind and soul by reading & learning is so important for our wellbeing.





... trying out new ways to connect with the community around you with wellness & friendship in mind is vital. “Less fear” simply just “giving it a go” will pay off.




... freedom is something we all long for -  free of any bondage, any unhealthy attachments, habits and friendships. We will recognize it  when we are FREE from all that clutter we carry. You’re not alone in this and there is help available to chisel off that “hard crust” and embrace the NEW LIFE for you..


You are in my prayers  

Chef Hännes



The first trampoline was built by George Nissen and Larry Griswold in 1936 to help them with their circus act.  Griswold – an alarming name! In 1942, Griswold and Nissen created the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company and began making trampolines commercially in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

So that is a brief history of the common trampoline.  Today there are above-ground trampolines, in-ground trampolines, mini trampolines and more. Most popular for family yards is a spring-free ’enclosed’ model. This type of trampoline allows the children to safely jump within the confines of the netting without limiting the fun.

The Garden of Genesis 1 was supposed to be such a place.  Completely safe from evil without limiting the fun. Adam and Eve were given permission and, indeed, authority to ‘go for it’. Until they got tricked. The serpent convinced them that God was holding out on them and that, if they could somehow break through the net, they would become Gods themselves. They believed him. And things began to unravel. They didn’t feel safe anymore.

The Father sent Jesus to restore us. To demonstrate that we could be set free from that shame. Strangely enough, Jesus tells us that we actually can be like God – made in His image. Everything that Adam and Eve put on the line. 

Religion is the definition of a platform with no bounce. Flat. Hard. Rigid.  A religious spirit encourages us never to leave the surface – never to try to leave the mat. Jump at your own risk.

Instead, the New Covenant encourages us to jump – jump high. You will always return to the mat.  And there is a bounce in the mat. Grace. The trampoline gently breaks our falls. As we mature we get more adept at jumping higher – seeing further -  whilst still remaining dependent on God. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
— Deuteronomy 31:6


I recently took my grand-daughters to a fun park in the country. We went on the bouncy castle with them. It was wild. Hannes, Noah, me and two tiny girls. We jumped and fell over and flew down the inflated slides. The bounce made us fearless and full of energy. We were in our Garden of Eden – safe, shameless, family. And it was great fun.

Today I thank you God for putting the bounce in our faith. You have perfectly regulated the elasticity. Not too soft so as to suffocate us when we fall from a high place. And yet not too hard that we will break our bones on landing. Thanks.


A Bystander


Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosopher,  in his book ‘After Virtue’ offers the following thought:

I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’

Religion as a moral measuring stick has been replaced with an age, strangely with a huge evidence of moral pressure, but an age that doesn’t offer a way through – a clear path. Instead we are immersed in a quagmire of politicization, scapegoating, shaming, blaming -  depending on where you fit in the story. The only way to absolve ourselves from being right in the guilt or accountability chamber is to become a watcher and bystander. Watching political, tribal and cultural powers slugging it out. Instead of our lens seeing any moral struggle as something between me and God it now takes on a framework around groups or, as McIntyre notes the story that I find myself a part of.  

The present age, more than any other, certainly gives us a looking glass to see what our storylines are. Technology makes us privy to far more of the story that we sometimes care or need to know. Does our voyeurism then make us responsible? We saw it. Therefore, we know. Therefore, we are responsible? David Brooks points out the danger of this moral crisis:

At least religions offer people a path from self-reflection and confession to atonement and absolution. Mainstream culture has not clear path upward from guilt, either for the individual or groups.


I am a part of a God Story.  That becomes very relevant to keep in the foreground. I am a part of this world and its storylines but also a part of a supernatural story.



Many Fathers


Someone once said that when we get pre-occupied with just knowing stuff about God our spiritual lives become a bit like trying to view the galaxies through a pair of $5 binoculars.  We gravitate towards teaching that shows us what to look for instead of how to look. Methods that speaks things into our ears instead of teaching us how to hear.  And viewing things on a screen instead of giving us a video camera to make movies ourselves.  The modern church structure tends to be happy to feed us this way. The motives are good and stem from a hierarchical system that wants to pass on knowledge and experience.  Like the father/son model.  The majority are happy with this model because they feel comfortable with someone in leadership giving them all the answers.  It makes us feel safe.  We like the duality of good versus evil and black and white theology.  We want order, controlled order, even though we read the gospels and know that Jesus created disorder and seemed comfortable about his messy mission. Then we bring in the Holy Spirit and everything goes pear-shaped.  The prophetic creates futures that don’t seem ordered or sometimes sensible. It’s fun though isn’t it?

For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 1 Cor 4:15 ESV

 Fathers then hold a very important space in this paradigm to encourage, listen and promote rather than only to teach and direct. These are the type of Fathers that the scriptures tell us are in short supply.  It is the unusual father who will allow the son to dissemble the well-worn path and hack through the bush to find a new way.  The good father is there to encourage and to wipe his brow.  To throw the party when the venture is in harvest mode and to make up the spare room when the son needs to return to the fold.

Lord make us mothers and fathers like that.  Not holding on to our pride or property but giving all generations the green light to be pioneers of the new.


Emptier and Fuller

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Some people have full but empty lives. Others enjoy a relatively ‘small’ life but enjoy a satisfyingly full world. Some want fuller, richer lives. Other will be putting a simpler, ‘lesser’ life on their New Year wish list.

Ann Voskamp’s almost new classic ‘One Thousand Gifts’ (2010) has a chapter entitled, An Emptier Fuller Life. She puts out a dare for us to lead emptier but fuller lives. I am at that point in my life.  I understand where her train of thought is headed.

Unfortunately, our culture places so much emphasis on the outward expressions or activities that appear to make up a full life. We worry about people who don’t go out much, who enjoy loads of solitude or who just aren’t very talkative. We encourage them to join a group or, in our case, attend one of our community meals.

Often I can find myself dragging others into my world – rather than meeting them in theirs.

“Our disasters come from letting nothing live for itself, from the longing we have to pull everything, even friends into ourselves, and let nothing alone.” Robert Bly


Our community groups, social programs and churches can exercise a heavy-handed arm twist to get participants into a ‘third place’ that is of our making and might not be a place of safety or comfort for the participant.

Hannes and I offered a Christmas Brunch as usual this year at our kitchen space at Karis Place. Many of our friends had gone to family and friends for Christmas Day. There were only about 25-30 who sat down for the meal. We had no carols, no entertainment, no special Christmas gifts…..just a table brimming with great food.  Smoked salmon on toast, salads, eggs with hollandaise and a host of other foods. It really was a good spread. But for me it wasn’t enough. I wanted the music, the sparkles and the trimmings.  But Hannes knew it was enough.  He demonstrated that Voskamp-like fullness in simplicity.  He made it simple and family style – noting that of the guests had enough of all the trimmings and wanted a quiet morning.

A community that can work towards developing spaces that are full and yet empty of excess is the challenge. Perhaps it will allow love in its purest form to triumph and not the ‘toys’.

The Corner

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Happy New year Joseph
- out of prison. First son
Manasseh - God has made me forget

Happy New year
New town mums
Wishing divine mercy and forgiveness.
Habakkuk 3 'in wrath remember mercy'.
In the land of your affliction ...
Greatly afflicted
Try not to carry your bags of grief, of madness, of hate... Into 2018

Difficult -  but you know someone who knows affliction
Someone who watched his Boy suffer.
In wrath show mercy
1 Thess 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Divine will

Enter with thanksgiving
Forgetting what lies behind.
Moving forward.@

Three Dots

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Three Dots 

So much of the Christmas story is about waiting.  The Earth waited for the Messiah to be born. We waited then to see what He would do.  And now the bible says to await His return. 

Waiting for the Messiah to come

He comes

We wait

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

And the most beautiful thing of all is that He waits for us to come to Him. 

Blessings for a wonderful Christmas Day from Soulkitchen


Make Me

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Sometimes when I am on my way somewhere…. picture the place with me…. a crowded bus, a shopping centre, the library, my office…. the whisper begins…. the melody…. the lyrics. 

Make me a channel of your peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

And I find my centre.


Listen to Sinead O’Connor’s version HERE


A Hard Days Night


I should have known when, after an hour on the road, we stopped at a Caltex gas station for snacks. The kids returned with sweets and Hannes sipped on a cup of coffee.  It was going to be a long night.

We have travelled to Penang on an average of once a year for the past 20 years. It is known as the “Pearl of the Orient” and for us the shimmer and glow of the jewel seems to draw us back each time. The Malaysian government introduced a program to lure foreign investment about 15 years ago known as “Malaysia My Second Home”.  Indeed that rings true for us – although I now claim it as “Our Third Home”. 

A couple of weeks in Penang comprises of both relaxation and mission. This year we felt a stronger sense of missional purpose. We come as ourselves and make ourselves available for whatever and whoever comes our way.

The night I speak of is typical.  We were unsure of where we are going or what is expected. We met our friends at 6pm. We ‘ubered’ to an outdoor restaurant where we shared coffee and roti canai. The pastors told us they were hoping to plant a church up north and tonight was a gathering for prayer and fellowship in the town. 

Indeed, when we arrived about 2 hours later near to the Thai border, we came to a house where women hovered over the stove – cooking up a big pot of Bee Hoon noodles.  We were led in worship by a couple of children on a keyboard and bongo drum.  Throughout the evening the host would receive calls on her phone and race off to collect someone new on her scooter.  A woman obviously mentally disturbed joined us with her mother and she would periodically cry out and rock back and forth until her mother comforted her.  An older man had to be carried in from the car.  We met neighbours, family and church friends.  The host was nervous with so many in her home.  Most had to stand. Our pastor friend scolded her for not providing enough chairs.

We were asked to ‘bring a word’.  Be ready Louise in all seasons!

We worshipped. We prayed.  We ate.

As we departed the woman, who had demonstrated such disturbing behaviour that night, motioned to me by patting her head. She wants you to pray for her, the others said. She was calm as I prayed. Fear left her just for a few minutes.  

We piled into our car. Our friends dropped us at a McDonalds near their home in Penang where we could get onto wifi and organise an Uber to get us back to our hotel. The children in our car were exhausted.  The little boy, Jordan, has been coughing all night. I felt for them.

We entered our hotel at about 2am as a Chinese wedding was just wrapping up.  The gaudy Christmas snowy castle in the lobby looked even more out of place that night.


Live from Vancouver - Its Soul in the Kitchen!


Dear Friends of Soulkitchen,

We've got sunny skies today and a nice chill in the air. We see the sprinkle of new snow on the local mountains. We love this city - rain, shine or snow!
And the work here continues.  Times are tough for people in the city as housing is so scarce and expensive.  The onset of the cold weather doesn't make life easy.  This year we have increased our focus to include another community in the West End where 450 mostly seniors are housed. Our partners, More Than A Roof, took over the management of that property.  The opportunities to serve there are many and somewhat difficult as the kitchen facilities are limited. MTR is building a commercial kitchen on that site which will be completed by 2018.  Meanwhile we continue to provide meals for our tenant population (which has doubled this year), taking hot meals onto the streets twice weekly, working with local churches to provide support for their outreach projects and taking meals into the homes of those who are sick or needy. We have just concluded Canadian Thanksgiving celebration dinners with over 400 Turkey dinners going out. All this production takes a team.  What is REALLY good is the work with our tenants on a  personal level. Soulkitchen is in a position to provide training, support and hope for many people. We give others the opportunity to redirect their focus - away from negativity and out of isolation. Our aim has always been to create a healthy community while providing wholesome meals to others. The kitchen is where it starts - cooking, training, connecting with others, mentoring. 

More than Food. 

We couldn't do the work without our many volunteers. We have a strong team of 15 volunteers together with a newly appointed Sous Chef. Special thanks to IGA on Robson, Earls Restaurants, Terra Breads and others who partner with us and provide provisions that enables us to serve good food. More Than A Roof are a great organisation and we are blessed to be partnering with them.

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Thanksgiving Dinner

I’ve been reading the well-known Victor Frankl book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  Frankl, a psychotherapist, researches human behavior during his many years in Nazi concentration camps and demonstrates how man is primarily searching for meaning. Without any meaning we want to die, he suggests. It is very pertinent as we deal with many people who have lost and given up on life. 
Frankl claims there are three avenues to find a way out of despair.

- First is by creating a work or by doing a deed.
- The second is by experiencing something or encountering someone
- The third is to find meaning.
By using these tools he suggests we can find freedom in even in the darkest times.
He says of those who overcome, “ the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom - which cannot be taken away - that makes life meaningful and purposeful.”

We use all three modules to get people into a more healthy state.  Our tenants work with us, we engage with them on many levels and we give them a purpose. Through all this we trust that our tenants and volunteers will find their way to experiencing the love and mercy of our Father in heaven who is ultimately the bringer of freedom.


Hannah - new Sous Chef


Pray for us that we can make a big impact by bringing real purpose into the lives of those who are discouraged and poor through love and encouragement.

We are travelling to Perth and onwards to Malaysia this month. We will continue connecting with the churches in Penang and especially with our partners at Noah's Ark.  Hannes will be speaking at Fount of LIfe Outreach Ministries in Perth and Louise will speak at C3 Dunsborough mid November.  Pray for our ministry both locally in Vancouver, and, as we travel.

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Winner of our Aussie Apron Award - our youngest volunteer


Blessing to you all.

Hannes and Louise Tischhauser

Isolation and Low Income

Poverty and low income have both been found to increase the risk of loneliness and social isolation. A Dutch study ( Hortulanus, Machielse & Meeuwesen Social Isolation in Modern Society 2006) of religiosity in people who are lonely found that people living on low incomes were twice as likely to be lonely and six times more likely to be socially isolated. A similar Australian study (published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing by Lauder and Sharkey in 2006) reached the conclusion that people who earned less than $600 per week were significantly lonelier than those earning more than $1,000 per week. Interestingly enough the Australian study also found unemployment to be one of the strongest predictors of loneliness.

It just seems so obvious that low-income seniors in Canada face an increased risk of becoming socially isolated. No employment and limited finances combine to marginalize this group of people.  We are right to concentrate our efforts to embrace and assist in any way we can to create community. 

Jesus calls us to especially be mindful of the poor.

He delivers the needy when he calls, the poor, and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 
— Psalm 72, 12 - 13

Today I am tired of helping others.  I want to just enjoy my prosperity and health and sit amongst my 'stuff'.  Instead my ears hear the call of the needy. The Holy Spirit whispers and also helps me.  

O Lord help me not to turn away from you call to care for those who have only a little while I have been given so much.  Give me a spirit of generosity and joy.