Saturday, November 29


God, where are you?
I long to see your power.
I know you don't have to prove anything ... but God, I long for you to do so.
Days and weeks ahve turned to months
The tears still fall unexpectedly and often
They sting as they roll down my cheeks and land softly..
God, do you care?
Everything I know about you - screams out that you do!
but the emptiness of my heart makes me feel like you don't.
I want to run
not sure where, not every sure why
But I do...
run, cluthing my children close to me,
as if I could ward off any further pain
O wishful thought.

The bleakness of the grey sky and naked tree that I see from my window,
proclaimes the death of one season
and eventually the anticipation of life to come
The greyness - a stark contrast to the beautiful colors of summer and fall.

I feel that way often
like the leaves of my being have been blown off by unsuspectin winds and stinging rain
And now I walk through the day feeling exposed and naked,
as if my being, or parts of it
have been buried under the cold blanket of snow.

and yet, i long for the touch of a healing hand, on the broken pieces of my heart
For the touch of warmth to revive my pathetic heart
a heart that remembers the feel of warmth coursing through it
and yet, appears to lay shattered and scattered around my feet.
And try as I might to pick up the pieces, I just can seem to
And I worry that I can find them all - only that can bring wholeness

I look out at the trees again
and wonder if they feel -
Realizing God created me to feel extreme pain, and extreme joy,
and a mix that somehow comes together and co-exists.

Looking out the window at the yard in front of me
i remember the beatufy of days past
even now, the stark bleakness stands in sharp contrast -
Black - White - and the grey.
While I know life will spring forth again,
I just don't feel it today
And so I feel, in spite of the memories
Inspite of the knowledge of who my God is...
Inspite of pep talks and decisions to look up...
I just feel grey, exposed, and cold.

And just when that feeling seems so incredibly tangible that I want to scream and to run.
God sends a bluejay flying across my scene out the front window
And I am once again kissed by my Lord
And I hear him say again, that its okay to feel this, that He is carrying me,
and reminds me that He's near.

Wednesday, November 19

A few of my favorite things...

My favorite things.... when I was in grade 9 or thereabouts, I took voice lessons, and I remember singing the song, I think it was called "My Favorite Things" -- I think it is from the Sound of Music. The chorus went: "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling bad... I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad!"

Today, I spent time with my kids, well 3/4 of them. Josh was at work.
As I hugged them all good bye, and drove home, I was thinking of how incredibly blessed I am as a mom. I was thinking of them, and realizing that in the midst of such deep sorrow that seems to fill up my days, there is the deep feeling of feeling loved and appreciated by my family. Last Friday we spent time together, and it was such an amazing feeling.

So, before I go to bed, I want to make a list of a few of my favorite things...
Hugs from my kids
Texts on my cell phone saying "I love you" from my husband and my kids
The smell of crayons
The warmth of our cats when they sit on my lap
The way our dog Oreo smiles at us when we come home. (yes, he actually smiles!)
A large cup of Mountain Bean coffee with cream (cream is an occassional treat!)
The smell of fresh bread
Laying in bed with my arm around my husband
Listening to my husband crack corny jokes
Spending time with our kids
The warm sun of a Caribbean country
The feeling of sand between my toes
The sound of the pages of my Bible being turned

More favorite things
Emails from friends
Phonecalls from family
A real letter that comes via snailmail!
Barbecued Steak!
A hug from the little neighbor kids
Unexpected visitors at my church office
Being asked to help my kids figure something out
A good movie -
Coffee with friends
A nice quiet afternoon at home
A crackling fire in the fireplace
The smell of clean laundry
The sight of a clean house!

Still more favorite things...
my journal
a good book
my feather pillow
A warm kiss from Alvin
A good laugh
seeing the smiles on my kids faces

There are things in life that bring a smile even in the midst of this deep dark valley of grief. I am thankful that we can laugh sometimes. I am thankful that we can also cry together. I am thankful that the favorite things in my life aren't not things, but people first... after God.
"when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad.... I simply remember my favorite things... "

Jesus, you are the one who will bring my broken heart back together. Please continue to give me affirmation of your presence, your love, and your promise to us. I love you Jesus. Please continue to carry me through this dark, deep time. amen.

Saturday, November 15

A Kiss from God...

Years ago, when I walked through a dark and long depression (mid 90's) I used to walk the gravel road and used it to talk to God. During those walks, especially in the summer and fall, I would often see these cute little fuzzy caterillars... and often would stop and watch them inch across the road. I always marvelled at how they looked, and how God was such a creative Creator!! These little caterpillars became a sign to me of an ever caring God!! I remember one day when I was just asking him if he would give me affirmation of his presence. I just needed to know He was there...
I remember walking... and as normal, walked to the asphalt of the highway, and make a u-turn and proceed back down Springfield. I made the u-turn, and began to walk back...all of a sudden coming across the most beautiful sight. One I had not seen for a very long time... a little fuzzy caterpillar right smack in the road where I was walking. How did I miss him merely 50 steps before? I really wondered about that. I remember weeping... as God used exactly the same thing - little caterpillar that he had used before, to say, "Hey Joy, I am here... I am with you". I wept and walked, and felt lifted. I called this a "kiss" from God, and since then I have often asked him for a KISS.

Well, this past few days, we have experienced many kisses from God again, in the form of a Bluejay. Since our little grandson Jay's birth and death, we have taken on the little bluejay, to be a little sign to us... At the funeral, we used a little blue jay picture on the programs. At the wedding, we used the same little bluejay in the little announcement about remembering our little Jay. It seems that the symbol is one that we have attached to our Grandson's memory. I guess it all stemmed from Josh and Leah referring to him as their little "bluejay" ...
Living out in the country, we know that we have seen Bluejays around from time to time, and we seemed to be on the look out. The Bluejays are such an incredibly beautiful bird. Our hearts are still so heavy that a glimpse of a bluejay would be like a kiss from God. We all sense that I think. One time Leah mentioned that while she was walking, a bluejay crossed her path, and she sensed it was from God.
Well, yesterday, while in the kitchen Alvin and I saw a bluejay, and then another...
They flew from the blue spruce trees to the Oak, sometimes coming closer to the window. We told the kids about it when they were out during the day. Today has been even more spectacular as bluejays have been constantly in our yard, in fact even now as I write this, there are two bluejays that are in our front yard, flying back and forth, landing on the dead grass. I got the camera, but even with the zoom, can not get the beauty that I see with my eyes. And I feel kissed over and over again by my Heavenly Father. Only He knows that the sight of these beautiful birds is like an ointment to my soul...
Only God knows that we will never ever forget our little Jay, but the sign of the bluejay constantly crossing our path, we take as a sign that HE never forgets about us and our grandson either. (that is one consolation, to know that Jay is with Jesus!) So, today, as I watch these beautiful blue birds, HE is reminding me again, "I am here with you Joy... I know your pain... I will continue to carry you through this sorrow..."

I have decided that we are going to get a bird feeder. I realize that the Bluejay is a cocky bird - and it says that they will even stand up to a Great Horned Owl, or even cats (Look out Vanilla and Louis!!). I just love how blue they are...
So, I will look for a feeder, and buy the seed, and hopefully God will continue to send these "kisses" throughout the winter, as a reminder of His presence, and as a reminder over and over again of our little Grandson!....
And along with the "kisses" from God... the birds will be a reminder of His promises taht we are clinging to...

Friday, November 14

Glimpses of Yesterday

Alarm Clocks ~ the smell of good coffee ~ the taste of sweet cinnamon ~ the warm hug of my children ~ talking ~ walking ~ watching snowflakes loftily fall ~ good conversation ~ a few laughs mixed with serious moments ~ more coffee ~ more laughs ~ working side by side ~ ripping wall paper ~ dreaming of winter trips and business ventures ~ knitting ~ Oprah ~ praying together ~ hugging good-bye ~ making supper ~ waiting for our younger kids ~ more hugs ~ more laughs ~ more knitting ~ more prayer ~ more goodbye hugs ~ email checks ~ some tv ~ husband asleep in chair ~ midnite ~ time to hit the sack.
Glimpses of yesterday, which don't talk about the deep parts of the soul, but remind me that today was full. Full of my kids!! I love it! And now, it is after midnight, and I need to get to bed, lest I turn into a pumpkin!! :)
It has been a family type of day... thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, November 11

Lest We Forget

Lest we forget.... sometimes I wonder if we have already. What is it that we are not wanting to forget? I struggle with people who refuse to wear a poppy based on pacifism belief. Really? I beleive strongly in peace. I believe that is what Jesus means when he tells us to love our neighbor. However, I am also a child of a man who went to war, WWII, and came home maimed, and with flashbacks that would wake him up in a swet!

As a child I always thought my dad was a hero. I remember sitting on his knee, and looking at the schrapnel wounds, tracing my finger around them. I remember looking at his tatoo, that said "mother" on it. I remember that my dad didn't want to talk about it... about war. At least not in a bragging way. And there were huge reasons behind that. I think primarily because in hindsight, and especially since he accepted Jesus as his Lord... my dad didn't think war was right.

Sure, it was exciting. All the boys enlisted, leaving many moms wiping tears as they hugged them good bye. My grandma Thomas gave my dad a little New Testatment Bible and asked that my dad would read it every day. In my dad's biography (that he had just started writing prior to his death) my dad said that he promised his mom he would, and he did. Sometimes reading it in the terrein (spelling? I meant the washroom) but none the less, always keeping the promise he made to his mom. He said that when he laid in the field in Italy, wounded and thinking that he was going to die before he was found, he remembered thinking that he hoped his mom would think he had given his life to Jesus, and find some peace. I have often thought of that... he realized his need, and yet, even so close to death, still didn't make the decision to follow Jesus until many years later. Intersting how one can come close to death and still not decide!

My father, as he got older, and because of his love for Jesus, became a proclaimer of peace. My dad went into schools and talked with students. Telling them to not forget the atrocity of war, but to remember so that in the future, war does not happen again. I often wonder what my dad would be thinking as he watched the free press publish pictures of the young men and women who are dying today in the name of peace...

My father, wore the poppy proud. I look at his medals from time to time, and run my finger along them. I remember sitting on his knee tracing his wounds. I remember also, my mom telling me how my dad would wake up in fright as he flashed back to war during his sleep. It was because of the war, and being in a hospital in England before coming back to Winnipeg, that my dad was connected to my mom's brother, and then to her. A love story amidst the pain and loss of war.

My dad came back and was reunited with his mom and dad. Although my grandma went to her unexpected death still knowing her son had not yet given his life to Jesus. My dad had the little New Testament in his breastpocket when he was wounded... and had some schrnapnel wounds to his chest. I can't help but believe that the Word protected his heart that day. My sister has that little NT, rebound, but precious and with such a history ...

Lest we forget... I wear the poppy and have since I was old enough to get one in school. Lest we forget that there are families all over, mourning the loss of children and spouses, moms and dads who beleived in "peace"... lest we forget that we live in a free country. I think we take that for granted. Lest we forget that wearing a poppy doesn't mean we are advocating war, but instead remembering that it happened, and war should never happen again!

May Jesus give us the grace and strength to ascertain WHO is our neighbor and to realize that it is far reaching and embracing... and may He give us the love. He modelled it, we need to follow.

Today, I will watch the Remembrance Day memorials. I will weep. I will weep because I miss my dad too. I will weep for the moms and dads who are missing their children, and men and women who are missing a spouse. I will weep because even in the midst of this free country of Canada... we are still asking WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR and miss the opportunity to reach out... Lord, give us the strength. Lord, give me the peace to love with a love that comes only from you. Amen.

Monday, November 3

Great is Thy Faithfulness.... is it more than a song I can sing by heart?

Today I sang Great is Thy Faithfulness as I sat in our church, at the funeral of an elderly brother in Christ. The last time I sang it was when we buried our little Jay at Sunnyside cemetary. I sang it alot that week. The words are profound... and I know them by heart. Is it more to me than just a song? Yes Lord, I admit that you are sovereign! You are God no matter what happens. Help me to believe that. To choose to believe it no matter what. O God, give me, give us strength to walk through, to come out on the other side unscathed and clinging to you.

Great is thy faithfulness
O God my Father
there is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.
As thou has been, thou forever wilt be...

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
morning by morning new mercies I see
all I have needed, thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

O Lord... Great is your faithfulness. Help me to sing that in all times. Help me to see your mercies new with each morning. And joy comes in the morning too... O Lord, I pray for that.. for joy.
Lord, Great is your faithfulness. O Lord, GREAT is your faithfulness

Sunday, November 2

My Dad.

It's been eleven years, although sometimes it feels like yesterday
A day that seemed like all the others, but a day that ended in deep sorrow and disbelief.
Eleven years ago, God took Dad home...
And I was left an orphan.
As I look back, I realize what a gift my father was to me. An amazing man who held a huge place in my heart
My dad. And he loved me so much. I had no doubt about that.
That day, we said good bye to dad, although he was already gone.
Absent from the body, but present with the Lord.
I learned a lot from my dad. More than I ever knew until I got older, and had to do things on my own.
How many times have I wished that he was still here, so that I could run something buy him.
How many times have I wished that I could stop by and get a hug.
Eleven years is a long time, and yet, but a blink in Dad's lifetime with the Lord.
And now, I realize that Dad would have welcomed little Jay, and I love to think of how they are running together.
Lord, thank you for my father, a man of God.
Thank you for the prayers he spoke on my behalf, and fot eh way he raised me, and modeled a life after Jesus.
For my father, I say thank you Lord.
On this anniversary of his death, I ask you to continue to give many warm memories of my father, my friend.
Lord, thank you for my dad