Monday, July 27

a year later and still standing...

Well, we celebrated Jay's birthday with a party. It was the hardest of days but one where we were also able to celebrate his little life! Although his life is BIG as he lives to the fullest in Heaven. My eyes felt like they had gravel in them once again.

The rest of the weekend was a real "thought provoking" weekend - mainly because I had alot of "alone time" since Alvin was working. Yesterday I was on my way into church for the worship service - and caught up in my thoughts as per usual in my way into the city (the half hour drive makes for some great thinking time/talking with God time)..

And I hear the song from Casting Crowns - Praise you in the Storm. All of a sudden my heart lifted - it was like "God, this is for me!!" It ministered to the deep broken places still in my being - and yet it also ministered HOPE into those places.

So I want to share this with you.

When I look back, a year ago, I really wondered if we would be "standing" at this time - and God has carried us, tended to our wounds, given strength to legs that could hardly stand, picked us up and held us, wiped our tears, cried tears with us over and over and over again.

God, thank you. I will praise you in the storm. It is hard to do that, but you have shown yourself faithful over and over again - and especially in those times when I have found it hard to admit that you ARE faithful. Thank you God for loving me so much, to do that for me.

The song is based on the Psalm 121 which is one of my favorites!!

"I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm.
and watches over your life.
The Lord Keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever."
Psalm 121 NLT

For those of you reading this - take heart and be encouraged. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the words! I hope they minister to you as well.

These are the words:
Praise You in This Storm words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day.
But once again,
I say amen and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone
how can I carry on if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth


This Video Clip is from UTube - Casting Crowns - Praise you in this Storm
I hope I have downloaded it correctly - I am a little of an illiterate in the computer area -

Friday, July 24

Jesus will you please tell little Jay...

Jesus -
how I wish I could see my little grandson on his birthday - but Jesus I know that you are celebrating with him!
Would you tell Jay a few things for me?
First of all will you tell him how much I miss him. And how much I look forward to seeing him one day soon.
I know Jesus that to you, time means nothing, and to Jay - when he sees his mommy and daddy and us all - it will seem like a mere moment, while to us it seems like an eternity.

Can you tell him how much we have looked at his pictures and imagined what he looks like in heaven?
Somehow I have a picture of him being a "rough and tumble" little guy - with a big smile and lots of his mommy's curls.

Can you tell Jay how much his poppa misses him, and wishes that he was here wandering around the shop, trying to pick up tools, maybe petting Louis or Oreo.
His poppa had so many dreams and hopes of what they would do together - please tell Jay that his poppa misses him so much.
But we can only imagine how his great poppa and great granny and great grandpa are all enjoying Jay Benjamin.
Sometimes I imagine how they must laugh together, and run, and play, and likely he sits often with them, as they tell him stories.
Jesus - maybe you can tell my mom, my dad and my father in law - we miss them too, but we are so glad they are with Jay.

Can you tell Jay about his mommy and daddy. Although I figure that they have continually asked you to tell Jay things from them. Tell Jay how much he made them laugh when he was still inside his mommy. In fact, Jay made us all laugh.

Can you tell Jay how much we have loved how you and the Father have given us "blue jays" in our everyday life - and how we feel they are kisses from heaven to us - to remind us that Jay was such a gift, and that you Lord, continue to remind us that we are loved, even though we feel robbed.

Jesus - can you give Jay an extra big hug or two or three or more - from me. Tell him how much I wish I could hug him in person, but that will have to wait till we meet again.
Jesus please sing happy birthday to him - and tell him that today we are celebrating his life.
Jesus - can you please make him laugh alot today - even while we weep here below.
And Lord - can you also tell him that he will always be in our lives - and in our hearts - always.
Tell him that he is my first grandson - my first grandbaby - and will always hold that place in my heart.

Jesus tell him that I wish he was here so I could see his expression when he felt the wind across his face, or saw the beautiful color of the tiger lilys, or when he felt the fur of the cats. Tell him I wish he was here so I could smell him, and feel the softness of his skin, and look at his little fingers.
Tell him I wish he was here to makes us smile and laugh.

But in the meantime Jesus - thank you for being the one that is running, laughing, watching, playing and holding him. Really - he is in the greatest hands of all.
But oh how I wish they were mine.

Tell my grandson - Jay Benjamin - I love you so very much. Happy Birthday Jay.

Wednesday, July 22

mOrning thOts

My Personal Psalm:
A persona psalm of Joy, regarding a time when I was in a spiritual wilderness of life
(Inspired after being led to read Psalm 63 during quiet reflection time on my spiritual retreat day off from work ~ July 22, 2009)

O God.
God ~ you are MY God
How I have searched for you.
My head knows you are right here, but my heart ~
My heart felt like you were a long way off.
The wilderness ~ dry, cracked, barren
I thirsted for your healing water
I LONGED to feel the warmth of your hand on my shoulder
The cool nights in the wilderness made me shiver and share
And I sometimes collapsed under the heat of the day ~ only to stay in a curled up ball during the chill of the dark nights
The dark ~
It never seemed to end
Day upon day ~ night upon night
And yet ~ I remembered your faithfulness to me in the past
And although I accused you of not being faithful ~
O God – in my heart I KNEW and still KNOW that YOU are.
I, in my limited vision ~ don’t see the full view.
In my limited understanding ~ don’t get it.
You remain mysterious in many ways,
And yet ~
And yet I trust!
Because I know ~ in spite of my pain and overwhelming loss ~ I know you are in control
And I know ~ in spite of our deep grief ~ you also weep with us.
As I put my head upon your chest and heart you heart ~ it beats with mine.
And as I sit wrapped in your presence ~ I feel the wetness of your tears falling and mingling with mine.
O how you love me. O Jesus.

O God ~ You are my God.
God of compassion ~
God who allows “life” to happen ~ the good ~ the bad ~ the ugly
And yet, you are right here to pick me up, to dust me off, to hold me and to carry me
And all along I keep hearing you whisper:
“I’m with you. Trust, even though you don’t understand.
I love you. Trust me on this!”

O God, You are my God
I search for you daily
My soul thirsts ~
But you refresh me through your Word and through your presence with me
I see you all over ~
Your fingerprints over creation and on life around me
Your love is extravagant ~ unconditional and unfailing
I bask in it. It covers me completely – love mixed with amazing grace.
You give me a “picture” as I write…
O Lord! It’s me isn’t it?
The picture is of a woman standing under a waterfall ~ head tilted upwards ~ arms raised high ~ water cascading down on me ~
On my face ~
My head ~
My shoulders ~
My body.
Every part of my being covered
And I am smiling.
How I praise you.
Help me O Lord to praise you as long as I live.
And Lord ~ renew my mind
Renew my passion for you ~
My passion for serving you with all my being ~
For living ALL OUT! For YOU!

As I go to sleep at night ~ may my last thoughts as I drift into sleep ~be about you.
Pour into me while I sleep.
Speak to me ~ O Lord, please continue to speak to me through dreams and visions and through amazing “pictures” that you give to me.

As I walk through my waking moments ~ may I begin my day with you in praise and thankfulness.
May joy fill my soul each morning.

You hold me fast.
As I cling ~ I know that nothing can tear me out of your right hand
O Lord, what a comfort that is to know ~
That no matter how hard ~ how deep ~ how rough ~ how dark ~ how rocky ~ how stormy ~ no matter how many times I rant and rave or question you ~
That NOTHING can take me from your hand.
O Lord – thank you.

In my life – I will come across those who want to prove me wrong ~ to discourage me or to discredit your faithfulness to me
Some who speak may cause hurt ~
Some may cause confusion ~
There may be times of loneliness and pain ~
Times of misunderstanding and brokenness.
But Lord, help me to keep my eyes on YOU.

My walk with you ~ journey ~ is all that counts!
O Lord, find me faithful.
Help me to remember that when I feel down or discouraged ~ that I still need to rejoice in You
Because I KNOW what you have done in my past!
I KNOW what you are doing in my present.
And I KNOW that you will be as faithful in my future – even though I can’t see it.
That is a little scary being what we have walked through – or maybe I shouldn’t say scary but it is definitely blind trust – as I have no clue what the next day or days – the next month or months – the next year or years will hold.
BUT I know that YOU O God – YOU – hold the future, which includes my life and the lives of those I love.
And I will praise you ~
Father God, the great I AM
Jesus, my Lord and my Redeemer – and Holy Spirit who dwells within me.
Let all that is within me – Praise the Lord.
Hear my prayer.

Tuesday, July 21

looking forward to tomorrow

It is late. Contrary to the time that it shows on the bottom of the post - it is never correct - it is almost 11 pm. It has been a good day. Somehow whenever I begin with exercise at Curves - it just "sets" the day off well. A "pastoral roundtable" usually held in the senior pastor's office - today, the three of us women pastors met for breakfast at Perkins, and did our meeting there - devotional, heart check, meeting agenda and prayertime. It was good. It is different when it is just us girls - for no other reason than we are just women and are able to share in a very transparent way. No offense to men (smile) but somehow women are just a little more free to share. I love working with the women in our office - Pastor of Worship Theresa, Youth Pastor Shauna and office admin. Meggie.... I will miss these women who make me laugh daily!

The day was actually quite full of women encounters! A long conversation with my close friend Kim - she always seems to know when to call. I love that about Kim. Then a meeting with another woman who it was great talking to - and I was able to get a hug from my daughter Ash since she worked in the same office - and I had a fun chat with Ash and Carmyn (about a half hour long chat) before I left to return to the NK area of the city, so that I could finish my day in conversation over coffee with my longest standing friend Josie, who has been in my life for over 40 years.

I realize how God puts friends in our life - who are there to listen - to talk - to challenge - to help us sort through our messiness!! God, thank you for my friends - and for the way you have created women to be responders, compassionate and caring.

So now here I am - and figure I will get to bed. Somehow I feel like I will sleep well tonight. Alvin has fallen asleep in the lazy boy chair again. Who ever named such a chair!! Somehow it doesn't suit my husband - his is the least laziest man I have ever met... ever. I just love that guy!!

Tomorrow is my spiritual retreat day. I am not sure where I am going to spend it. Last month I went to Sunnyside cemetary and spent a good portion of my day there -
I may just stay put at home tomorrow - OR perhaps find a nice park and take my lawnchair. Time will tell. One thing I know - I am looking forward to spending time wtih my "Father".

I have a feeling that there are things we will talk about - me and God. I love that about Him. I love that he speaks to us! So, I will go to sleep and look forward to a day retreating with the Lord!

I keep hearing the phrase from a song - and it is my prayer especially for tomorrow.
"Spirit of the Living God - fall afresh on me!"

Night! This girls has to go and try to get some beauty sleep! (smile)

Monday, July 20

feeling messy

I feel "messy" these days - really messy.
I don't mean on the outside, although my house could use a good clean and a BFI bucket outside for purging (one of these days) BUT no, I mean I feel messy "Inside".

How do I describe what I am feeling - not sure, but perhaps I can try.
Feeling "alone" even when I am surrounded by people. Feeling like my thoughts that are running wild in my head NEVER seem to stop. (which is why perhaps people choose to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, or in my case - emotional eating)
I feel like a "pinball - that is weaving its way around the pinball machine, hitting miscellaneous bumpers, and then shooting off in another direction."

I feel tired - and yet when I go to sleep - sleep doesn't want to come easily. Tossing and turning, and tossing some more - only to finally fall into a decent sleep sometime between 4 and 5 am.

I feel like I am waiting to exhale - and maybe I am.
Personally, I believe it is all about moving closer to the day when my Grandson was born. And the day that our hopes came crashing and laid in a million pieces around us. Sometimes I wonder if God will find all those shattered pieces - but the better part of me says God knows exactly where each piece is, and where it fits, and how He is somehow going to make our hearts whole again.

Yesterday I had someone whom I will call a friend - tell me how her grief has been. She has lost a husband. Her gentle eyes looked into mine, as she told me that she will not be, and nor will we be - ever be, the same again. I knew that. I feel that. I see it in my own eyes. Sometimes I wonder if my friends see it too.

I have already had a couple people email me, or facebook me saying they were already praying me and our family through this week...
Where would I be without such friends - who don't try to fix things but instead just say they are praying because they can only imagine how hard it is and will be.
This week - this Friday will be my Grandson Jay Benjamin's first birthday. Even as I write that line, I am weeping.

It is just so hard, so terribly hard, not to feel so cheated and ripped off. And once again, I am finding the "why God?'s " are coming out of my mouth and thoughts?

We are so different - and trying to figure out how to walk as "changed" people.
It is like looking through glasses with a different lens - and it just looks so different.

Today - I checked my email, and here was another very timely email from Grief Share... timely... very timely.

Set Apart Through Grief

Many people become wiser, more humane, more compassionate, more fully human after experiencing grief. In this way, grief sets you apart. People who have gone through it are different.

"It will change you," says Sylvia, whose parents died. "You will do a 180-degree turn. When you go to a funeral home, from then on you will know what those people are going through; you'll know what you can do to help them.

"Before that, I would go shake hands, go to the line and say, 'I'm sorry.' And I didn't understand. But after you've lost a loved one, you have a totally different concept of what they're going through. I think you can be a better minister, and I think God gives you some of these things to use in your own personal ministry. So it will change you."

Change is difficult, and all people experience change throughout their lives. God, though, remains the same-—a solid refuge and fortress.

"I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6).

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Sovereign God, You never change. I can put my anchor in You and know I will remain secure. Lord, I want You to be the foundation of my life so that I will make it through life's difficult times. Amen.


Friday, July 17

thoughts gleaned while driving home

Sometimes I think I should try to figure out how many hours I have driven in my car -and how many miles. I figure that based on the fact that we have lived out here almost 26 years, and have driven in daily for most of that time - at 43 kms one way - hmmm... an hour a day ... yep, maybe I would rather not know!!
Thing is - as much as I have complained about the drive - I am going to miss it when we move. You see the drive into the city, and home again, (especially when I drive alone, which is most of the time) I really love the "thinking time" . In the past it has been time when I have at times prayed out loud the whole trip. The other day I sang (with all my might I will add) on the way in! Sometimes I have cried as I have driven. Such it was tonight. Out of no where - came the tears - they actually took me quite off guard. I know exactly why they came - and they were all about my grandson. His birthday is a week away. I realize that some of our acquaintances perhaps even some friends, may breath a collective sigh, thinking that once a year has passed - it will all be "okay" ~ but we know better, even if sometimes when people ask how I am - I say "okay" - as that is usually an easier answer when passing by.

Anyhow - tonight I cried on the way home. And lately I have felt the cold reality - course through my being - sometimes I think it is too hard feeling reality - but then again - I know God gives me strength again and again and again!

I got home a little while ago - its quiet as Alvin is at work. Thought I would check emails, and found the daily grief share email. Sometimes I delete them but lately I have been reading them again.

Here is a quote from today's - God Uses Low Places (daily Email from Grief Share)

There are some lessons in life that you only learn through times of grief or suffering. This is why it is important that you do not waste your sorrows. Times of suffering show you your limitations and how needy you really are.

Dr. Larry Crabb shares his initial reaction to the news of his brother's death: "I came outside and I remember my wife was waiting for me out in the car, and as I came out, I just stood there and said, 'Bill's dead.' It was just a very, very strong moment. But as I recall that moment, I think my first internal deep reaction was not despair. I think my first reaction at that moment was I must find God as I have never found Him before or I'm not going to make it."

People are needy. The world wants you to be tough, strong, and independent. God wants you to lean on Him. God's way is right and wise. Depend on Him as you have never done before, and you will find true peace and power that can never be achieved on your own.

Looking back, I realize that my first instincts also, were to turn to God for strength. It was really easy at first to go to him - but man did it get hard around week two or three when all of a sudden I began to question his faithfulness - or why He allowed such tragedy? I spent alot of time ranting and raving and yes, accusing God of being unfaithful. O Lord, thank you for loving me and for letting me wrestle through each day and still wrap your arms around me and hold me close! I have realized many things - and one of them is that you are faithful. O Lord, I don't get it, but I know you are faithful. I know that I don't have to understand - to be able to live in your peace and power! Lord, thank you for seeing my tears and for gently enveloping me with your presence!

ps...dear friends who read this blog - I feel like I have rambled tonight - but it is the space I am in.... thoughts tumbling one on top of another. Hope there is something within this blog that makes sense. If nothing else - just know that God is a GOD who picks up pieces and begins to bring them together over time - at least that is my experience. And he does it with such great love - can't explain it, but I can feel it. And I know it is real.

Thursday, July 16

what really matters?

glimpses from the past week -
- working with Love Lives Here last Thursday night - wow, thank you God for teaching me and allowing me to see how beautiful people are to you
- feeling the warm sun on my skin (even if it made this 51 year old swet!)
- texts from my kids - what would I do without the love and friendship of my four kids?
- visits with family - Thank you God for extended family visits - which happened over two lunches, a supper, and a breakfast! (and coffee in between!)
- a few good laughs!
- watching trees bend before and during the storm - Lord God - you speak through creation!
- walking at our new land - Thank you Lord for your Vision entrusted to me - Lord may you find me faithful and bold!
- lunch with Kim and Linda (many good laughs!)
- an impromtu coffee with Vi and Diane at Mountain Bean (thank you Lord for old friends)
- an impromtu drop-in from Jeanne - thank you Lord for a big hug!
- an amazing and delicious supper with Karis and Frank - Lord, thank you for their friendship - bless their relationship!
- and then of course there are the great coffee times with the staff at church - this week it is all women! Many laughs around the table!!
- and my husband - who continues to love me day in, day out - and tell me how much I mean to him, Thank you God for my man!

There are many more glimpses from the past week - but those are just some of them.
As I was telling someone yesterday - my life is all seen differently now since my Grandson's birth. Very differently! Through a much different lens. Then, I came to my computer this morning, and found the daily email from Grief Share
and just knew that I needed to share it with you because it is about what really matters.

What Really Matters?

Grief has a way of shaping you and turning your attention away from the busyness of life to what really matters. People in today's fast-paced culture do not stop long enough to contemplate the significant questions of life.

What is important in life?

Look at the big picture. Your life on earth encompasses a short time frame when compared to eternal life. You are an eternal being. You are made to live forever. Keep this in perspective.

So the question best asked is, what is important in this life that will extend into eternity?

Dr. Joseph Stowell emphasizes the importance of living today in light of the world to come: "When you really embrace the world to come and bring it back into the world of your own life, everything is radically rearranged. One of the things that is rearranged is your values. For instance, this world tends to value self, tends to value things, and tends to value accomplishment and personal success.

"When you're really committed to the world to come and understand the depth and importance of it, you begin to value other things—like people. People are the only things going on to eternity. So I tend to value my children differently; I tend to value my neighbors differently; I tend to see the people I work with differently. I see them in light of their own eternal destiny."

Do not be uninformed about life's significance.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart" (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

Living God, teach me to open my heart and embrace the knowledge that life after death is an important reality that must be acknowledged in my daily life. Help me to live my life in light of eternity. Amen.


Tuesday, July 14

coTTage ThoTs

Last weekend, my husband and I were at the cottage by ourselves (for the most part, except for extended family visiting for part of Saturday). We went for a walk and took some pictures of a few wild flowers, of daisies, and of the water. I love the lake - the quietness - the beauty - the reminder of what a creative God HE IS!!

On Sunday morning, Alvin and I sat side by side, watching a Beth Moore DVD - session 3 - on Esther. Now Alvin appreciates Beth Moore's teaching - and so do I. Session 3 focused on Esther 4:1-14. I want to share a few thoughts with you - from Beth Moore's lips - to my ears - to this blog! Thoughts to consider - to ponder.

Back in the intro, Beth said "God is building up our faith to see something we are hardly going to believe when it comes to full revelation."

"He's (meaning GOD) smack dab in the middle. God does work through miracles but often through the individual in the natural setting, the natural realm and that's the miracle! He enables us to do something we know we can not do!!

"God has something strategically planned - that has to do with me - my destiny! God is not going to fulfill my destiny with out me! There is a call to courage and perseverance!"

"You cannot amputate your history from your destiny! You can not become the person God is going to make you - without your history! That's what redemption is!!"

"You will never be more prone to attack than when God has pulled you out from where you have been and set your feet on a wilderness road to get you someplace you're going - but girlfriend - you ain't there yet!"

Then last Sunday, session 3 - God used Beth Moore even more to speak things to me that I needed to hear right now!

"Destiny is never for our sake and for our own ego! As God sheds light on it - more times than not, He will turn us(pivot us) to another direction on the heels of crisis, that we will alter see as God unfolds the plan!

"if it is God's time - you're in your prime!"

Beth continued to say that "one of the most important parts of fulfilling our destiny will be our transparency. It's through the transparency that we have our identity!"

The story of Esther 4 is a good one - we see Esther as Queen and the Jews are facing annihilation unless she does something. But - if she goes and sees the King - she may be killed. If she does nothing - they will be killed. In fact DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION HERE! At one point, Mordecai tells her "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"
Wow - I can not imagine Esther's heart at this point... a human dilemma.
In the manual Beth says "None of our purposes will be fulfilled easily. All of them will require the most difficult decisions we think we can make. Decisions that we may feel will practically kill us. Then God does something miraculous and we become something we're not. I had to accept that I was not called to an easy life. I was called to a purposeful life."
Then she asks if we are coming to the same conclusions and what circumstances have helped me come to this conclusion. In that space I have just written one name: Jay

I know if you have been following my randomness over the past year or less - you know how much my little grandson Jay has affected my life! Words can not express the effect that this little guy had - even though he never breathed a breath outside of his mommy! Yet, his little life has taught me about so much to do with my life - with God - oh yes little one, this Granny will never be the same. Ever.

I have fought hard (although mostly a silent, inner, me and God fight, or should I say "wrestle") In the Esther manual, page 98, Beth Moore writes:
"At strategic times of internal war I stop and ask myself, "what if this is a critical moment? What if this very thing, this very decision, is the most important piece of the puzzle comprising my purpose?

God has profoundly used the conviction that those heightened times of decision in my toughest trials could be "make it or break it" moments in my destiny. Much like Mordecai suggested, I always knew God would accomplish His will and do what He intended, but if I made a man-ward (vs. Godward) decision, I'd be left out of a divine loop that would eventually mean everything to me. Beloved, in the times of greatest struggle when you make the Godward too have come to a critical moment in the fulfillment of your destiny. A defining moment. A war is being waged over your head in the unseen realm, and a great clour of witnesses is cheering you on. You have no idea what's at stake."

Somehow it seems that God is taking all the broken and scattered pieces of my heart -and slowly bringing them back together. I don't think that my heart resembles a heart quite yet, but somehow, I just feel like He has his hand on the pieces - even the ones that I think have been shattered, scattered and lost in the darkness.

Somehow it seems that out of that incredible darkness - incredible grief - HE is making something beautiful, as only God can, out of something so ugly.
Somehow it seems He is taking all of this past almost year - and helping me to become someone who can use my grief for his glory. No, I still can not thank Him for my grief... but I can thank Him for the joy that He is giving me in the mornings... amidst the grief.

Somehow it feels like the study of Esther is especially for me right now. It is about God using me for His purpose - and it does seem that as Beth said, "it will often be crisis that God uses to pivot our direction." And pivot it He has!

O Lord God - mender of my broken heart - restorer of joy - redeemer of my life - thank you for walking with me, often carrying me, picking me up over and over again, along this journey - through this crisis. O Lord - you are making something beautiful of something so terribly hard and sad - You have changed me - O GOD, you have chamged me so much that often I hardly recognize myself! YET - you are doing it gently, lovingly and supporting me through each step - hard as it is.
I see O Lord, how you are unfolding your plan, your purpose for me. Lord God - continue to use me. I love you Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, July 8

...the great sadness...

I read my daughter's blog today
I am often amazed at how Ashley and I think the same way - now the thing is, often it is BEFORE I see her blog, or vice versa. She blogged about the "great sadness" and an excerpt out of the book THE SHACK.

I bought this book last year, and the day that Jay was born, I had my journal and THE SHACK with me - as we waited for him to be born, Alvin was reading the book, and I was journalling. That was the last day that we read it - and only decided to resume/pick up reading when we went to Cuba. Alvin read it first, and then me - well, I finally finished it a couple weeks ago. I loved it - it spoke to me - and yes, I realize that not everyone would ever want to even consider God the Father - in the form of a black woman - but you know, the way the author wrote about the relationship between the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit - and things that expressed the Holy Spirit - they really spoke to me.

Thing is, I also resonated with how he talked about "the great sadness" - and that is what Ash wrote about today (check her blog) or perhaps yesterday it was -
And, that is how I have been feeling - yesterday I texted Alvin while he was at work and said I feel like I am in a deep deep fog.... NOT depression (I also remember what that feels like) but in the "great sadness" and as my Grandson's birthday approaches - it seems to get deeper.

Today it feels the same - like all the life has been sucked out of me - like I am moving on rote - and I don't like that feeling - not one bit.
But that being said, today I sang with everything I had in me - to Travis Cottrell's song - I AM PERSUADED -
"nothing in life, nothing in death - no mountain high, or ocean depth. No power below on earth or above - can separate me from your love!! I believe beyond a shadow, You never will forsake me. And your love endures forever - when all my strength is gone. I believe your love will carry me and hold me close - I am persuaded - nothing in life - nothing in death - no mountain high, or ocean depth. no power below on earth or above - can separate me from your love!!"

I have to keep reminding me - because sometimes - this great sadness - it is overwhelming -
thank you for your prayers on my behalf, and that of my family!

Monday, July 6

I stole this from Ash's blog - and she stole from Kara's....


1. Travelled → yes quite a bit. We have travelled alot with our kids - to Disney World 4 times, Cuba twice and the Dominican Republic once (did service with our kids on this one.) Alvin and I have done a few cruises - Caribbean, Hawaiian Islands including Fanning Island at the equator - we have also done service trips (2) to the Dominican Republic, and one to Thailand. I love to travel!! Last Jan. Alvin and I went to see my sister and her husband in South Padre Island - Texas!!
2. What is your weakness → cd's, books and cards to send people! Food wise - it is definitely chocolate and sweets - I wish it weren't so!
3. Laughed until you cried → more times than I could ever count! Alvin and I, and the kids and us often laugh till tears! I think laughter is a strong component of our marriage and our family!
4. Met someone who changed you → lately, I have to say my Grandson Jay! And also my counsellor Mary - the input that has happened in my life was unexpected (both extreme joy and extreme sorrow) Of course my life has also been changed through my husband and family too!!
5. Found out who your true friends were → oh yes - especially during the 3 months I was off work on leave.
6. How many kids do you want to have → always thought I would have five. Had Josh, and then Ash, and knew we were done. Two was great. Now we have 4!!
7. Do you have any pets → currently our border collie Oreo - who is quite deaf and blind but continues to be eager to see us and very loyal! Okay, then we have Josh and Leah's two cats - Vanilla and Louis!! Anyone want a cat? :)
8. Do you want to change your name → never!! When I was born, apparently my mom had wanted to call me Dawn. I love my name, although people always ask if it is JoyCE? However, when I was 5 I was going to run away - yep, packed a little black suitcase, stood at the door and called my mom and said, "aren't you even going to say good-bye?" When she came to say good-bye I melted and changed my mind. This was all because I wanted to change my name to Carol. Not sure why? Haven't had the urge to do this since! I love my name!
9. What did you do for your last birthday → Came into the city to visit mom k. at the hospital - went to the Forks to wander abit - and then Ashley proceeded to take me on a treasure hunt for clues - each one with a riddle and a new place to go - ending up meeting Alvin at the Forks, getting the next clue which was a Gold-Eye's game that the kids took us too (long standing tradition, except I ususally take everyone on my birthday!) Good game, but very cold outside - got the last clue which took us to Hu's on first for supper, and gifts - it was a wonderful fun evening. But then again, anytime with my kids and husband are great times!
10. What time did you wake up today → 5:50 am when the alarm went off.
11. What were you doing at midnight last night → trying to fall asleep - sleep is always an issue for me
12.Name something you CANNOT wait for → the arrival of our Second grandbaby in December.
13. Last time you saw your father→ November 2nd, just before he passed away.
14. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life → I wish I had actually followed through with getting my education degree and teaching kindergarten.15. What are you listening to right now → nothing.
16. What's getting on your nerves right now? → I have had a continual cough for past 3 years - had it checked out - but it is so annoying -
17. Most visited webpage → hmmm.... google

18. Nicknames → Georgie, Jogee, Soup, Sal, Muddy Waters, Two feathers - (Alvin likes those because they are going back to my metis roots he says!)
19. Relationship Status → happily married for almost 31 years, and dated for almost 4 before that - Alvin and I have been IN LOVE for almost 35 years out of our 51 years of life!
20. High school you attended → MBCI (grade 11 and 12) Beausejour Senior School before that.
21. Hair color → auburn - although now I dye it, as I have many greys - and so now I have blondd hilites
22. Long or short → on the shorter side right now, right around my chin
23. Height → 5'5
24. Do you have a crush on someone? → gotta be my husband, but some of the little guys at church i.e. Jack and Kieran definitely steal my heart!
25: What do you like about yourself? → I am loyal, and a good listener. I like that I love being a wife and mom
26. Piercings → just my ears - two in one, one hole in the other. I told Alvin that I want to get my nose pierced and my girls both said they were thinking of that too. time will tell.
27. Tattoos → I have a small tatoo in honor of my grandson, on my right wrist (inside)
28. Righty or lefty → righty

22. First surgery → gall bladder - when I was 24
23. First piercing → ears - at 16
24. First best friends → my friend Joanne (lived in Winnipeg) then my best friend Josie, who I became friends with in grade 4 and we remain friends!!
25. First sport → Baseball - also did figure skating, and soccer and I was a cheerleader grade 6,7 and Cheerleader captain for 8-10 (quit laughing - I was actually quite good!)
26. First vacation→ went to BC with my parents - also went on the train - loved that.27. First concert → Chicago (the band)
28. First crush - That I can remember... Billy (grade 3)
29. First Love - Real love -- Alvin. (I had boyfriends prior, but it was only when I met Alvin that I just knew he was the one that I would marry - it was different!)

30. Eating → nothing - but it is past lunch - gotta run and get something.
31. Drinking → had some coffee
32. I'm about to → get ready to go grab something for lunch.
33. Listening to → We already had this question - nothing
34. Waiting for → ... nothing right now

35. Want kids? → maybe this should read - want grandkids?? Yes - I am a granny of one and look forward to the second in December and even more - I have lots of love to give!
36. Want to get married? → already am - AND Alvin and I renewed our vows in a big party - about 100 people or more - in 2003.
37. Careers in mind? → well, since I have resigned from the pastorate - the next career involves the ministry for women see

38. Lost someone special? → yes - my Granny, when I was 16, and then my mom, my dad a year later, my father-in-law, and my Grandson Jay.
39. Been depressed? → walked through a deep depression about 10 years ago.
40. Been drunk and threw up? → Nope, never
41. Broken someone's heart → Nope
42. Had your own heart broken → yup, see #38
43. Cried when someone died → my tears are endless - there is a verse in the Bible that talks about God collecting my tears in a bottle - I figure he has many huge pails lined up somewhere - I never knew I could cry so many tears - especially over my little Jay

44. Yourself → Yes, most of the time
45. Miracles → oh yes - although I think the whole topic is bigger than we think - and looks differently than we expect
46. Heaven → I often think of Heaven and picture my loved ones there.
47. Santa Claus → we used to let our kids believe in Santa until they started asking questions. I vowed I would never lie to them.
48. God or a Higher Power? → God. Of course!! Oh my, where would I be without my God! Almighty - everlasting - GOD!

49. Drink - I like Coffee - mostly black but strong and bold - sometimes with cream. I also like a glass of wine once in a while. I also love Iced Coffe - Thai style!
50. Food - Steak, baked potatoes
51. Movie - City of Angels - love the angels standing on the beach at daybreak.
52. Band - you know, I am a little pathetic - like songs, don't pay attention to the bands - just never have. But, I love Michael W. Smith's music, and Gaither's series - (quit groaning!!)
53. Memory - holding my grandson, and checking him out and kissing his little face. Of course - there are also my children's births!! Their first day of school - their grads - my wedding, .... lots of memories -
54. TV Show - the Batchelor, So you think you can dance, Canadian/American Idol
55. Hobbies - knitting, reading, visiting with friends, campfires with my family
56. Subject - I am enrolled to take the School of Spiritual Direction in Colorado. I am so excited!!

Wednesday, July 1

Missing Dad Klassen - three years ago today.

Three years have passed - in some ways it seems like yesterday - in some ways, it feels like many more years.

Three years - while the Canada Day fireworks began at the Forks - Neil, Mom and I were standing around the bedside of my father-in-law - as he struggled to take his last breaths. It wasn't the easiest thing he did - but in a matter of a few moments - he had passed from this world - to be with the Saviour whom he loved dearly.

The day that we buried Dad - we returned to Neil and Ingrids for watermelon and roll kuchen. Today, three years later, we celebrated with the same thing - as we have done every July 1st since Dad passed away.

I think of Dad K. often - and realized after he left - what a void his passing left in my heart. You see, after my dad went home to glory - Dad K. became someone who spoke wisdom into my life - I don't know if dad realized how important his words were to us.

He was quite the man! I look at my husband and he is so much like his dad - and Josh is so much like Alvin - so Josh obviously carries some of Grandpa K. too! During the time that Dad was getting sicker - I was at home, recovering from my hysterectomy. As I got stronger with each day - Dad got weaker and sicker. My first day back at work was actually my first compassionate day off.

There are things I still hear dad saying - and can imagine him saying those things to our little Jay - as they play in heaven. I love thinking about that - about our little guy running and jumping and exploring with his Grandpa K and Poppa T!

Dad was a hard worker - there was little that he couldn't do. I appreciated how, when I came home late, during the winter months - the woodstove had always been filled so that I didn't have to worry about it.

A few weeks before Dad passed away, he was adamant that I "buzz" his hair - the same way I cut Alvin's - with a number 2. Mom wasn't so sure she wanted him to do this - and me - he wanted ME to do it and I wasn't sure I wanted to take that responsibility - but I did. It was one of many moments that I cherish - as we lived so close, and spent alot of time with Dad during his last days at home.

Three years ago, we said good-bye to an amazing man - Dad loved God with all his heart. He loved Mom. He loved his kids - Eleanore, Alvin, Neil, Ruth and Rick - but he also loved us "in-laws" Ray, Ingrid, Todd, Corinna, and myself. And he saw no distinction. Grandpa was a man who taught many many things to his grandkids - Josh and wife Leah, Gord and wife Janice, Ashley (Mike wasn't in the picture yet) Rachel, Joel, Adrian, Miranda, Jonathan, Daniel, Sarah and Nicholas.

John Klassen - lived a full life - loved to the fullest, right to the end - and we loved him and miss him terribly. Dad, thanks for all you did for me - the first in-law to infiltrate the Klassen family! I miss you - but I am so glad that your arms are also the arms that are holding our Jay!

John H. Klassen - Born Sept. 18, 1928 died July 1st, 2006. Almost 78 years of age.
Absent from the body but present with the Lord - which is far better.
We love you Dad K.