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thank goodness

 Good News!

On this page:

 Use these as illustrations and meditations as openers for your next meeting.

Human-created Islands bring peace for all

The Goose is Loose!

Bhangra dancer brings joy in the Yukon

Esther - Canada's Wonder Pig


At thank goodness, we want you to be inspired by all the good things happening in the world. Use our stories as illustrations you can take to organizational or church meetings, or in any way that you find helpful. Each article is followed by a "thought" about what spiritual "good news" it demonstrates. Check back often because our stories change several times a month.

Making islands; homing fish and wildlife; providing peace and quiet

More often than not, we hear of people being upset whenever word comes out that a precious coastline is being in-filled. But in Barrie, Ont., a downtown shoreline has been turned into a refuge for not only the weary walker or day-time book reader – but also the local wildlife!

   Allandale Station Park, located at the very tip of Kempenfelt Bay, is a 16.3-acre waterfront site with walking/biking trails, plenty of sitting benches, and the addition of a couple of human-made islands. Known as the Rotary Islands, they are a wonderful attraction for birds, fish and other lakeside critters. They are an enhanced environment donated by the Rotary Club of Barrie and finished in 2000.

    Two islands now create a sheltered lagoon for fish, waterfowl and amphibians to live. Additionally, hundreds of indigenous shrubs and plants — now firmly established after 20 years — were planted to enhance the natural health of the habitat for wildlife.

     The project was intended to offset deterioration of shoreline habitat in Kempenfelt Bay. The Rotary Club and city planners worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to create a functional habitat restoration project.

    Twenty years later, Mother Nature has taken over what the Rotarians started.

    “The islands, armoured with heavy boulders against wave and ice action, have created a sheltered lagoon in the shallow water just offshore,” a spokesperson says. “Submerged rock piles, bank covers, shade trees, shrubs and a variety of aquatic plants have provided conditions to encourage a variety of small prey fish to spawn there and to frequent the area in search of food and shelter.

    “In turn, larger predator fish, attracted and sustained by the new food supply and habitat, have benefited accordingly and enhanced sport fishing opportunities in the bay.”

    Another nice aspect of the project is that there are a plethora of benches to sit on for the dozens of people looking for a quiet place to enjoy the view and the wildlife. Each of the benches has been dedicated in the name of someone who has passed on.

With files from Barrie Today.

The Rotary Isla​nds in Barrie, Ont. are manmade islands created in 2000 at the very tip of Kempenfelt Bay in the area of the city where the old Allandale meets the downtown core. While infilling of a bay would usually be frowned upon, this project has actually enhanced the shoreline and providers a sheltered area for the aquaculture and waterfowl during some pretty rough weather. 

Photos by Ian McInroy for Barrie Today

And the Good News is

    We shouldn't fool around with Mother Nature ... unless we're going to fix a problem that was created by humankind. In this case, the Kempenfelt Bay shoreline in Barrie, Ont. was being eroded, and after years of human activity, nature wouldn't have a good recourse to gently take care of it on its own! With some great planning by environmental engineers and ecologically-minded people, a solution was found that would benefit wildlife and humankind alike. The islands, created on a rock base, will provide protection for marine life, birds and small animals for many years to come! 

    And because of the benches that are dedicated to loved ones, comfort, peace and rest can be found by locals and tourists alike. Good job!

Arnold & Amelia: Together Again

Arnold and Amelia, two Canadian geese living the good life in Cape Cod, Mass. had to be separated when Arnold required surgery on his foot. But Amelia tracked her mate down and surprised the wildlife centre staff by "knocking" on their door looking for him!

Nothing could separate Arnold and Amelia. Certainly not a little health emergency! 

     According to staff at the New England Wildlife Center’s Cape Cod branch, these two geese have been a couple for several years and live in a pond near the centre. They noticed that Arnold had something wrong with his foot and needed surgery a couple of weeks ago. And so, they managed to wrangle him up and bring him in. 

     The surgery went well and Arnold was kept in an enclosure while he recovered. But on day one, staff heard a tapping on their window. It was Amelia at the glass door looking for her partner! Geese, it seems, mate for life and she wasn't going to leave her partner - no matter what!

     Arnold was put in a place where the two could see each other and eventually, Amelia was let in for quiet visits. She came every single day and even stayed for meals some days.

     The day came when Arnold was ready to be set free again.

     “Amelia was right there to receive him and they took off together for a swim in the pond,” staff told the interested media who touted "The Goose is Loose" as their headlines.

    “We are not sure what they will do next, but we are so happy that they have the opportunity to do it together," says the centre staff. "Arnold’s foot has healed well and today we got to see him both fly and swim. We are confident that he will have no trouble keeping up with his partner Amelia.”

And the Good News is:

     Awww... you gotta have friends! Loyalty and love aren't just confined to the human species apparently. That's the wonderful way Creation exists and moves through our world. Amazing!

Bhangra dancer loves the snow & ice beneath his feet!

And the Good News is:

    What a joy it is to live in a country that is filled with a diversity of cultures! We think we know and have seen everything – and then along comes such marvelous people as Gurdeep Pandher and other Bhangra dancers! And our lives are further enriched with new things to see and hear and be introduced to! How boring and limiting it would be to live in a place where we all look alike, think alike, eat alike, etc. And yet, in Canada, where our winters keep most of us inside for months at a time (not to mention the pandemic!), it excites us and makes us happy when a person like Gurdeep comes along – dancing into our lives and spreading his joy!

    Who has been your “Gurdeep” in your lifetime? Who have you embraced as “friend” who opened your eyes to new things to think, to see, to eat, or to do? If you are still in touch with them, why not drop them a card and letter expressing your appreciation for what they have done for you in life?

Gurdeep Pandher describes himself this way on social media:


      “I Support Farmers —I'm a Canadian dancer. Breaking barriers. Advocating equality & new-voices. Building cross-cultural bridges, joys & new-normalities.”

     What you don’t get out of the wonderful self-description is that he moved to the Yukon; lives in a tiny home where he uses an outhouse in -45C degree weather; and often is filmed dancing on frozen lakes near his home north of Whitehorse.

     What a life! And even more lovely, is that we can watch him dance on Facebook, You Tube, Instagram and Twitter. And trust us – it will make your day!

     The joy he exudes as he dances Bhangra – a traditional folkdance of the Punjab region of India – is absolutely infectious!

     All across Canada, there are wonderful people from India or Pakistan who have come to work or study in Canada, and are more than willing to share their love of the dance with their chosen communities. Bhangra is a dance that celebrates the annual harvest. The term bhangra originally meant a particular dance performed by Sikh and Muslim men in the farming districts of the Punjab region of South Asia.

     It is a high-energy dance of joy with graceful movements – especially of arms, hands and legs. Originally danced only by men, it is now common and acceptable to include women in a dance troupe. Dance troupes, often made up of university students, have been gaining popularity and well-deserved media press from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia all the way to the west coast and now – thanks to Gurdeep – even in our north.

     Check him out by “googling” his name in any search engine … it will make your day!

Esther - Canada's social media powerhouse

   Want your daily smile? You have to check out Esther, the Wonder Pig – a real Canadian treasure!

    We thought we would check in on our true Canadian celebrity and beauty: Esther the Wonder Pig. We were very pleased to find that, at 8-years-old now, she is doing very well and still enjoying her life in Campbellville, Ont.

     Have you heard her story? Two young men named Steve and Derek were offered a tiny, “micro pig” who needed a good home. Well, of course they took her! Trouble was – she didn’t stop growing at “micro” size! In fact, she kept growing to the point where she outgrew the men’s home and they had to buy a little farm!

     It’s turned out just wonderful for all three of them and assorted other pets in the household. Esther has become the most famous pig in Canada and has her own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Website pages!

    And trust me – she is quite a character! She loves to dress up, to sleep, and to eat, eat, eat!

     If you want to follow her escapades and search her store for all things Esther and pink piggy, just google “Esther the Wonder Pig” and check her out.

 Esther the Wonder Pig relaxes in her home after a busy day at work as one of Canada's biggest media stars!

And the Good News is: As we explore all that Esther has to gift us with - joy, laughter, amusement, gratitude, etc. - we are reminded that in the Bible, we are told that God created animals before they created humankind! That was how much God loves the animals of the earth, birds of the sky and fish of the sea. It's no wonder, then, that we are all called to be good stewards of the land and help maintain and sustain every living creature on earth! 

   Did you ever give an animal a "forever home?" Or have you helped raise funds for organizations that take care of animals? Did you know that even as simple as throwing your Christmas tree way out in the backyard every year, you are providing shelter for the wild little ones? Do you have any other ideas about how to help improve the quality of life for all God's Holy life?

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