The Art of Giving.

One thing that we make sure is known and valued here at The Dale, and which I have talked about a lot before, is the idea of giving and receiving. We all have something of value to offer, no matter who we are. It could be prayer, our presence, money, help with the dishes, flowers, a painting, and so much more. I have been given so much in my time here at The Dale. One thing that I have received in abundance is encouragement, especially from my friend Kim.

Kim and I are into a lot of the same things. Gardening, nature, art, crafts, making something with our hands, and having little gatherings with our closest friends. You might remember me writing last fall about an outdoor art group that I facilitated – Kim participated that day and was so encouraging to me. She encouraged me beforehand when the original group was cancelled due to rain. And she lifted me up after the art group finally happened as well by telling me how proud she was of me (she knows facilitating a group makes me anxious).

To my delight, this Spring Kim came to me and asked if we could have another art group in the summer. We chatted about our ideas, looked through Pinterest together for crafting inspiration, came up with a location and a list of supplies we needed, and invited our friends. I know that Kim loves art and I know that she loves me. Which is why she encouraged me to do another art group and sat with me to talk it through and came that day to participate and told me how fun it was. I know she wanted to encourage me to do a hard thing and know that I could follow through. Kim is a great friend in that way.

Our art day this summer was so fun. Kim and I decided we would paint terracotta pots and plant seeds in them. We would have a small group gather in a community garden here at the church and paint together in the shade. When the day came for the group to gather, it was so hot. We found a little spot of shade in the garden and painted together for an hour in the afternoon. It was just four ladies together doing art, but it meant the world to me. I loved it, and I loved that Kim encouraged it to happen. It wouldn’t have happened without her.

Thank you, Kim, for the way you love and encourage. Your gift is the way you see the good in people and help them to see their ideas through. You’re a big dreamer. And all of those things are a gift to me too. I am grateful for our friendship and our art groups!

I hope you all have a friend like Kim. With Peace,

Meg 🙂

I am a community worker at the Dale Ministries in Parkdale! You can learn more about how to support my work financially at !

Just Being Invited

The village of Parkdale is also known as Little Tibet. In fact, Parkdale has the highest concentration of Tibetans outside of Asia! Walking down Queen Street, you’ll find lots of folks in their traditional Tibetan clothing, monks in robes, and store after store selling Momos (Tibetan dumplings). His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is an important political and religious figure in Tibet. Last month was his birthday which is a huge day of celebration in Parkdale. There are celebrations around every corner, dancing, free momos, and much more.

The Dale staff team was invited to participate in a birthday celebration for the Dalai Lama! At the church where our Covid HQ has been are a number of community organizations who also work in this building in different offices and kitchens. A number of those folks are Tibetan, and so they invited us to eat with them and partake in the celebration. We gathered outside in the parking lot with a tent and so much food. There was a picture of the Dalai Lama and a birthday cake. The MPP for Parkdale/High Park was there as well!

The hour was filled with emotional speeches, pictures, chats, and lots of food. We were served traditional tea and rice, and had a large plate of delicious food. We were invited to take a white scarf that was provided and wrap it around the picture of the Dalai Lama as we silently wished him well. We were told to fill our plates again and again. The generosity was astounding. Our friend cried tears of joy at how special this day was for her as a Tibetan, and how happy she was that we could be together to eat and celebrate.

To be honest, I was uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to say or where to put the scarf when I was invited to wish the Dalai Lama well for his birthday (although I was certainly not forced to do this, and chose to participate!). I didn’t know what some of the food was or what it would taste like. I didn’t know how to feel or talk to the MPP, as she was only the second MPP I had met before! I didn’t know how to express the gratitude I had.

I think most of all I was uncomfortable because I felt so included and taken care of as a guest for this celebration. We were invited into something – a celebration, a tradition, a feast, a gathering. We were served and cared for. We were fed. We were thanked for being there, even though we had done nothing but be present. We were just invited, and we chose to accept.

This is such an important part of life at The Dale, and a lesson I am grateful to relearn again and again. It can be easy to fall into the role of caregiver in this field – hospital visits and prayers, carrying supplies during outreach, signing papers and making phone calls, preparing meals day after day. However we always say at The Dale that we are a community that gives, yes. But we also must receive. We must receive coffee that someone bought with the last of their change. We must receive prayers over our family. We must receive being served during drop in by another community member. We must receive an invitation to be present, to participate, to eat and give thanks, and the tears that come with it.

Giving and receiving is an important part of this work. It is not “us” and “them”. It is “US” together. We. Family. Community. Partners. Friends. The joy and sorrow, the heavy and light, the good and bad. We are in it together. Whether we are serving or being served, there is hope and love to be found in learning how to be together well.

I am so grateful to just be invited.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale! In order to do this work I must fundraise for my entire salary. I am inviting you into this community as well to participate in a prayerful and financial way. If you would like to support my work in this community, please visit and indicate that your gift is for my salary. Thank you!