Tuesday, September 30

Day Dawns after Night...

My heart grieves this morning for friends, a few of them, who just lost their jobs due to financial situation pertaining to the company.... only God fully understands this. Come to think of it, there is alot that only God understands.

This morning, as I sat in my favorite coffee shop with my journal, my bible and a big cup of medium roast, it was a time of thinking, reflection and journalling my thoughts. I realize that with the wedding over, the thoughts that have been pushed to the back over the past 2 months, are all tumbling forward. It is a bit scary...

I took a few minutes to read from my devotional, Streams in the Desert, which I got from a good friend just after my grandson Jay's birth and death...
It has been a soothing balm to me on several occassions. I realize that sometimes Life just sucks! (as the teens put it!) But because of my faith in the giver of life, and in the one who is my sustainer, my lifter of my head.... I realize that it is only in HIS strength that I can do life. Jesus, thank you for being the great I AM.

This reading today brought comfort to my soul. It began with the preface:
"Don't you know that day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then have hope! Hope forever, for God will not fail you! Charles H. Spurgeon

He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.
The stormy waves that marked my ocean path,
Did carry my Lord on their crest;
When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rst.

He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
The balm of His breath has not healed.
Oh, tender and true was His discipline sore,
in wisdom, that taught and tried,
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.

He guided my paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;

The crooked was straight, and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.
I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the desert streams by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.

Never a time on the dreariest day,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future will be
Far better than all my fears.
Like the golden jar, of the wilderness bread,
Stored up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in teh ark, with the law of the Lord,
is the covenant care of my God.
copied from Streams in the Desert
L.B. Cowman
devotional for Sept 25th

Monday, September 29

The first quiz!!

So, today I did something that I have not done in almost 20 years, since I finished studying for my Early Childhood Educator level III in 89...... I wrote my first quiz in my university course! Today was week four!! I can hardly believe that
a) I am actually a university student (today I got my student card! :))
b) that in the midst of a full summer/fall, I am actually daring to go to school and haven't missed a class yet! Today is class number 7! and
c) that I actually AM retaining information that I am learning in class and
d) I am actually loving being at CMU!!

Here I am, squeezed behind a little desk... or at least I feel like I am squeezed in there. (yep, I am bigger than I was when I graduated from High School 32 years ago!!)
After the second week of class, I realized that I had been signed up for the wrong class! So, I changed that last week. Then, I look around and I am at least the same age as the prof! The young kids in class, well put it this way, I have alot more life experience than they do! I go with my daughter and sometimes I am jealous that she is auditing it, and I have to do the homework. But today, I realize that going to university, even if it is only one course to begin with, it is very exciting for me. I can hardly believe I am actually doing it!

So, last week, I wondered if I would be able to study for the quiz. Our professor told us what to study, which was good. I take good notes, but sometimes I think I may take too many notes. So, he was so helpful and took some of the mystery out of what to expect. Last night, when Alvin went into the city, I studied or should I say I TRIED to study. I put wood in the fireplace, some coffee in my cup, and tried to study. It was hard... wedding hustle and bustle had caught up to me, and I kept falling asleep. I was able to study more this morning, and by the time it was time to write, I was feeling very confident in this 50+year old brain! I know it was just through the strength of our God.

After a re-check, I handed in my paper. I feel quite good about it, but time will tell. Can't believe at 50 I am in school... in university at that! God, I put this study in your hands. Like the Israelites I also want to experience you afresh. Help me to stay connected to the vine!

So I am learning after all. This old brain is capable of learning new things! I am campable of graduating with a degree in church ministry 8 years from now and I can already imagine my grandchildren cheering me on! Have faith ~ Expect Miracles. Jesus, thank you for the desire. Give me strength. amen.

Saturday, September 27

Getting called "MOM" for the first time....

Today is the day after my baby girl's wedding. And yesterday, my new son MIchael called me MOM for the first time! I had teased him the other day when he called me by my first name, that in a little while I would not longer respond to my first name. Of course I was teasing him. But yesterday, when he called me mom, my heart melted. What is it about hearing that? O Lord, thank you for kids!

My feet are sore (seems they have a hard time adjusting to shoes that are not orthotic!) I got to try out the "body wrap" - a little something that you wear underneath, to give you that "held together" smoothing look! I woke up this morning with a killer headache, that I attribute to lack of sleep over the past month! My hair had not moved, thanks to Chris the hair stylist and a can of hairspray! I have used written my signature more times in the past few days, which means I have been paying for a few (okay, MANY) things associated with a wedding. And now, I sit here with my feet up, realizing that about 2 hours ago, I had planned on heading to bed early. Time flies!

So I will post a quick post before I go to bed. Tomorrow is my Sunday off, and I am so glad. While the past week has been a blur, I realize that this next week is already a little full to begin with! I am so thankful that God gives me the strength, as I could not do any of this without my Lord!

Yesterday was a day that we had planned for over the past few months... since our new son Michael proposed to our daughter while in Cuba on our family trip. Our daughter looked like a princess - and as she walked down the aisle on her dad's arm, I was overwhelmed with a sense of love and pride. As I watched my kids up on the platform, my heart was filled with such joy. However at the same time, was a great realizeation that our life has changed and our "normal" has changed... we will never look at life the same way. Josh, and Leah stood up for Mike and Ashley - it was a hard day, as we faced family and friends in the biggest and most concentrated form since our little Jay was born and passed away. There were times when I still just wanted to grab my now "4" kids and run away and keep them all safe. John (Mike's uncle) married them, and he mentioned how when you love greatly, you are loving with abandon and without caution.... and at the same time that great love puts you at risk of great sadness... and I realize that is "life"....

So we celebrated, and Josh and Leah welcomed Uncle Mikey to the family in a formal way. I am so proud of our little clan. I admire my children, all four of them, in many ways. They help me to grow, and understand, and challenge me - most likely without ever knowing. I just love being a mom - to TWO daughters and TWO sons!
And, I am praying that He is also going to continue to grow my "grandmother's heart" !

So, now I am just plain tired. But my heart is grateful that I have a husband who also loves me so much!! We have just celebrated 30 years!! The groom I saw yesterday (our new son Mike) was so much like Alvin 30 years ago.... smiling from ear to ear, and loving every moment. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builder labors in vain. It is my prayer for my kids that God continues to be the cornerstone of their lives as a couple today, tomorrow and in the yars to come.
God, may you be praised! I am one very, very happy woman!!

Tuesday, September 16

My Girls

Last night, and again today, I had the great joy of spending some time with my girls. I imagine that we willl be spending even more tiime as the days go on... since we are less than two weeks until Ashley and Mike get married. I can't believe where the time has gone. It was just March end, when I carried the engagement ring to Cuba for Michael. Not sure who was more nervous about losing a ring.... I must have checked my carryon a million times. That was not quite six months ago, and the time has gone quickly.

Last night we spent time together as we ate supper - and had a chance to talk. I love it when that happens. Part of our conversation last night was around "why people blog?" Okay, I don't have an answer. Perhaps this is part of my therapy :)
Aren't you glad that you are involved in that. (smile)

Last night Ashley came out and stayed with me. She always used to love it when Alvin worked nights, as she would be able to sleep in my bed with me. That continues to this day, however, last night my snoring got the better of her, and when I woke during the night, I found her side empty, as she had gone to another bed to sleep. Such is life!! My snoring even wakes me up sometimes. Last night was one of those nights.

Today I got to spend a little more time with my girls again, as we went for a dress fitting at Sarah's house. Sarah, from church, graciously agreed to do any alterations for us, so there we went with dresses in tow. I watched as the girls tried on their dresses, one espresso brown, and the other a beautiful whiter than white gown!! I can hardly believe how beautiful my girls look. Soon my "baby" will be a wife! And Michael will be my son-in-law for real. It feels like he already is.
The other day I was teasing him about not getting hugs... and also about him calling me "mom" and not by my first name anymore. I remember those days when it was so weird calling Alvin's parents mom and dad... but it became very normal.

Later tonight we got together at Grace cafe for a little bite to eat... and abit more discussion. I realize alot about the girls...
1) they keep me young!
2) they speak honestly to me
3) I learn about God through my girls
4) I love them so much and see why they are so loved by others
5) In my daughter, I see so much of myself, but also so much of Alvin. Interesting how that happens!
6) In my daughter in law, I see how she has become such an amazing partner to my son, and how their strengths compliment one another.

The girls laugh alot together, and in the next moment can be sharing a deep conversation. They love doing things together, and I love being involved in the mix.
I see how my daughter LOVES Leah so much. That was so important, as Ashley loves her brother alot, and it is so cool to see the relationship that has been built between Ash and Leah. Relationships should never be taken for granted.

Today, as other days whenn Ashley has put on her wedding dress, I realize that we are one day closer to seeing her walk down the aisle to Michael. I have no doubt that her dad will be choking back the tears. I have no doubt that it will be one of the most handsome and beautiful wedding parties ever!!
I have thought alot about what to say for our speech. It all sounds good in my mind as I am thinking... somehow those thoughts have to be put onto paper.
Right now there is alot to do, and I realize I need to take it one step at a time.
Soon the day Ashley has been dreaming about since she was little, will be a reality. Along with that, we will see her spread her wings and truly fly, even farther than she has till now. This is what we raised our kids to do!

Today, like the other days, I realize how blessed I am to have the girls I do... who else would get me to buy funky pink glasses!! Who else laugh at my silly thoughts. Who else could make me feel like the most blessed mom in the world.
I have realized over the last few weeks, that family is there for you in the hard tiimes. That family knows how to finish sentences, laughs at dumb jokes, knows what you are thinking, when all you give is the "look". I have realized that we take a lot for granted, but God help me to not take my family for granted ever!
When everything else crumbles - family is there. For ever and ever...

When Ashley was a little girl, she thought that the number 5 was the biggest number she knew. When we would talk about how much we loved each other, she would always tell me that she loved me 5!! It became a game as she got older... but the bottom line is still the same. We love each other 5!! I am so glad that we can express our love for our kids, and they for us. I am so glad that they love to get a hug, a kiss, and to hear and say, I LOVE YOU. I am also so glad that my kids walk with the Lord! All of this together makes me one very happy mom!

God, thank you for my kids, and for my "in-Laws" whom I just refer to as my kids. God you have given gifts of partners to Josh and Ashley, in the form of amazing spouses, Leah and Michael. I pray that you would continue to draw each of us nearer to you, and that you would also draw each of the kids nearer to each other. Lord, help us never to take anything for granted... but in all things to wait for the miracles you are going to do in their lives, and in ours as a family. God, because I know how faithful you are, I know you are trustworthy... I know you are indeed GOD!! You are the great I AM! WE give you praise!! Amen

Monday, September 15

What does Abraham have to do with it??

Well, today Leah and I sat in class again. Class number 3, week number 2. That much closer to my first quiz and assignment. As we walked out of class to go and find out where to get our student cards, I was chuckling inwardly at what in the world I was doing at my age!! Going to school for a degree Lord Willing, in 8 years!! Is this a sign of being 50 :)

Anyhow, back to Abraham. I have been reading about him... actually about him and Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah and Rachel and oh yes, I did start at Genesis 1 with creation, and Adam and Eve and well, I have begun to see the Bible through some new eyes again! Thank you Lord for that added blessing!!

I see how we sure made a mess of life, right from the start!! But, I am also reminded of God's great love for us, and how He was faithful, and even when the human part of the equation was far from faithful!!

I think I have alot to learn through these men and women from the Old Testament. And it reminded me of a devotional that I read the other day from Streams in the Desert. It talked about Abraham being tested for a very long time, but he was also richly rewarded. It says that "Yet he patiently endured, not questioning God's truthfulness and power or doubting God's faithfulness and love. Instead Abraham submitted to God's divine sovereignty and infinite wisdom. And he was silent through many delays, willing to wait for the Lord's timing. Having patiently endured, he then obtained the fulfillment of the promise. "

Ah Abraham, I can learn from you.... I realize that I am not always patient with God. And, I realize that sometimes I have doubted his faithfulness (even though in my heart/head I KNEW/KNOW HE IS FAITHFUL!) I also realize that I often, have a hard time with submission to God... but have realized that God has very creative ways to bring me about! The one thing however that I do know, is that God's timing is never wrong. A little hard to admit right now... because really, I thought it was TIME for us to be grandparents. Yes, there are times when like Abraham, I just have to keep moving ahead and trust God's timing, and his faithfulness in my life and in the lives of my family. The bottom line is I know that God's promises can never fail to be accomplished. I know that if we wait patiently on the Lord, we will never be disappointed, that "believing faith leads to realization" ... so I wait and believe and trust God for miracles.

Yesterday Leah shared a verse with me, which I have decided will be a verse to cling to...

Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." (NIV)

I think that I mentioned before that my new saying for life is HAVE FAITH - EXPECT MIRACLES. Seems to me it is about trusting God no matter what, about having faith and waiting in expectation!! So, that is what I am doing!!

God, I thank you in advance for what you are going to do in my life, and in the lives of my family. You are a great God, and I am so thankful that you never give up on me! NEVER. You are faithful to your promise about always being with us, never forsaking us. Help me to live fully for you, with a WHOLE HEART!! Help me to fall more and more in love with you JESUS, and to wait in expectation. You know the cries of my heart... the secret longing...the quiet whisper. You know our hearts desire even if we do not bring it to speech. I know God that you don't owe me anything. But you also long to give us the desire of our hearts when it is in line with your desire for us. For this I pray, and wait, and expect a miracle. Thank you for giving me the stories of Abraham, who amidst testing, waited patiently, and ultimately received what you had promised him! .O Lord, enlarge my faith! Amen


Saturday, September 13


Today is a beautiful but slightly grey day, and before I get fully involved in all the happenings, I have decided to sit down with a good cup of coffee and think! Last night, as we sat around the table with our kids, we laughed. Laughing feels so good. As my daughter in law and I scraped the paint off of our deck, we shared where we had been sensing and hearing God. Sometimes I told her, I have a deep impression, or a picture, or a whisper and I THINK it is God, but sometimes I worry that it is my own imagination, or desire to hear him. Although as I look back, I realize that more often than not, in hindsight, it was GOD! I realize that God has been faithful to my grandparents, my parents, to me and Alvin, and to our kids....
I realize that a few weeks ago, I struggled with his faithfulness to us, and even said out loud that God you were not faithful in giving us a grandson that lived. That was a hard thing to wrestle with, and I will admit, I still struggle with that.
However, I realize that HE remains faithful regardless of what I think... And, He desires for me to come to him with those questions, and thoughts, and struggles, and while I may not hear his answer, He does speak in many ways.
So, back to wondering if it is God I hear/sense/see..... I have decided that I want to live life with eyes wide open, and ears wide open. As I delight in having my kids around the supper table laughing and joking and talking... so HE delights in my presence, my laughing, my thoughts, my talking. Like any parent, as I do with my children, God also longs for me to just spend time, and also listen! There has to be space to listen.
So, I realize that many of us are getting the same impressions about something to do with our family..... so I am going to expect miracles on this one. I am going to continue to journal what I hear God saying/showing me, and trust Him to bring it to pass. I realize He owes me nothing, and trust that His desire is ours as well. Ultimately HE IS GOD and can do what He feels best ....
In the meantime God, I give you my family...Alvin, Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael...
I ask that the desire of our hearts will always be in line with your desire for us. I ask that you would increase our love for you first, and our love for each other. I ask that you would fill our arms with babies.... that Josh and Leah would again see your faithfulness to them, and fill their house Lord with children. And in time, I will pray the same for Ashley and Mike :)
God would you continue to cement your thoughts/impressions/pictures on my heart and thoughts. Lord, I love that you do that for me....
May I hear you... may I see you...may I grow and fall more in love with you Jesus, lover of my soul!

So this is my prayer, as I go about the days work... as I go on a walk....as I get supper ready for guests.... may I live fully as the woman of God you have created me to be, with a heart after your own. Amen

Thursday, September 11


Today I have found that I have been thinking alot about life.... okay, I have actually been thinking alot about life for the past 7 weeks. Today was 7 weeks since I became a Granny.

I have realized that there are many things I have learned through this walk in the dark valley.

Here are some of them:

1) Life is hard. You have two choices. You can do it with God. You can do it without God. Your choice
2) There are times when walking with God is hard! I can't imagine walking through the hard stuff without God. (really, why would I choose not to?)
3) When you love deeply, you hurt deeply.
4) It is possible for great joy and deep sorrow to exist together. Go figure
5) The best thing to do for a grieving person, is to just hug them and/or weep with them.
6) The worst thing to do is to act like nothing happened.
7) Sometimes hugging means you have to go out of YOUR comfort zone into THEIR comfort zone. But if you do it, you and they will be blessed. I know, this is my experience in both circumstances.
8) Live life fully.
9) Try not to take life for granted. It is "but a breath!"
10) Being angry and asking why God? is okay with God. He is way bigger than all of my/our ranting.
11) A hot meal brought to someone in crisis is always appreciated
12) If you wonder what you should say, perhaps you should just keep your mouth shut and go back to #5
13) There is nothing like family to walk through the valley with you
14) Tears are okay
15) Tears come when you least expect it.
16) Dark valleys are never what you want to walk through, but God holds your hand and guides your path each step of the way.
17) Store His Word in your heart during the sunny days of your life.... guaranteed you will need it during the rainy/stormy seasons.
18) Discern who to tell your heart to
19) Journal - it is lifegiving
20) A christian counsellor is a gift!
21)..... you will never stop learning!

Lord, thank you for my grandson Jay... for his precious life, although short. Thank you for teaching me so much about life, through Jay's. Lord, I continue to cling to you, to have faith and expect miracles!! Lord, your will be done. Amen

Monday, September 8

Experiencing and incredible sense of peace --- it has to be GOD!

Today was a gift.... an incredible gift. I know that God had alot to do with this day, and the profound sense of peace that has come over me. It actually took me off guard. After three solid weeks of working early morning to very late in the night, I was finding myself really tired. In fact, so tired that I could barely function. And really, that did not (never does) look very pretty. While I think of myself as easy going, and good natured..... I find that I have been easily overwhelmed, and can become cynical and resentful. And while I am in that spot, try as I might, it is hard to get out of that pit.

This week was so hard.... so emotionally hard, and physically hard.... and I worked long into the night preparing for today. I finally called it a night at half past midnite and set my alarm for 5 thirthy this morning. (only to turn it to snooze a few times!)

This week I felt a deja vu moment when I remembered the day I almost drowned.... and I was feeling like this again... that was, until this morning.
Having got to church, and spending time in the prayer chapel, it was only when I sat down next to my husband in the pew, that I realized how peaceful I felt. It was so tangible. I love it when God works in our lives like this. During one of the songs, I leaned over and told my husband that someone must have been praying for me, because I had a strange sense of peace. I knew without a doubt that it was all about God!! You see, it has been a long time since I felt peace.
Lord God, thank you for your gift of peace in my life!