Sunday, September 27

Fearfully and Wonderfully made!!

Earlier tonight, I noticed that Leah had posted ultrasound pictures of the baby on facebook. I copied them onto my computer so that I could look at them easily. I have to tell you - that my kids - (son) Josh and Leah (daughter-in-law) really make cute babies! It is quite something - but I just have to wonder how it is we fall head over heels in love with these little ones even before we get to hold them? I have a picture of our first Grandbaby, our little Jay Benjamin - on my screen - so that every time I go to my computer - I am reminded of how beautiful and perfect he was.

I don't think I will ever read Psalm 139 again without always thinking of our little Jay. These verses .....
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

- these seemed like they were written especially for our little grandson - every moment of his life was laid out before a single day had passed.

I look at his pictures and there is always mixed emotions - many smiles, feelings of pride, such sadness. How many times do it look at those little fingers, and toes. The little lips and his curly hair. PERFECT. Absolutely PERFECT.

And now, I will spend time looking at our next little Grandbaby's pictures! What a gift until we see the baby in person!

Today when I gazed at our next little Grandbaby's pictures - I thought of the Psalm again - as this little one is obviously fearfully and wonderfully made too. I love how in some of the ultrasounds you see little fingers, a little profile, spine, heart... oh so fearfully and wonderfully made. It is so amazing how you can get such detailed pictures of a little one in utero. I never had any ultrasounds done with my babies - so seeing these pictures is so exciting for this Granny.

I have posted an ultrasound picture of both of my Grandbabies. I am always in awe when I look at them. Jay's picture is the first one - with his head on the left side. Our next Grandbaby is the second ultrasound picture - with the head on the right side of the photo. It seems inevitable that there are going to be resemblances - just has to happen, as both Josh and Leah are good looking - so I figure my grandbabies will all be cute!

I am so glad that we have the Psalm in the Word of God - and that it can apply to each and every one of us - God knows our thoughts - our hearts. He knows our joys and our sorrows. He knows our doubts and our fears. He knows all about us - and all about our children and grandchildren. He knows all about "this" Granny and Poppa and how we can hardly wait for this little ones birth-day. What a Christmas it will be!

Our Grandbabies - are fearfully and wonderfully made - that is so evident. As it says "His workmanship is marvelous!"

Psalm 139 (New Living Translation)

Psalm 139
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

O Lord - thank you - for your Word - the precious Word of God. Thank you that you go behind and before - you know our thoughts - you know all about us - and our lives - Lord - thank you for loving me - for loving my family. Lord - give us joy and tremendous hope as we count down to the arrival of our little Grandbaby #2.
O Lord - our hope is in you. Hear our prayers. Amen.

Posted on Sunday, September 27th, at 11:18 pm

Saturday, September 26

Happy Anniversary Ashley and Michael!

It has been one year - since Ashley and Michael got married - and sometimes I wonder just exactly where the time went! 1 Year! I love the pictures that are posted - one of Ashley on her way down the path to where Michael was waiting. Josh and Leah saw each other on this same path too, so on Ashley's wedding it was history repeating itself. The other picture of the kids - Ashley on the swing. This was just so typical her - in our yard. I wish I could post all the beautiful pictures that Patty took!
This morning, as I got out of bed at 7:20 am (cause we had work to finish) I couldn't help but think to a year ago today. The day that the planning and preparation all came together in one joyous celebration! This past year has been quite the year for all of us - and on top of it, full of surprise, and settling in, for Michael and Ashley. Ash had lived "on her own" since 2003 (apart from a few stints back and forth inbetween School of Discipleship/living with Hudson's and then living on her own in the Mulvey House). It was 5 years of learning how to take care of a home - how to collect rent - how to buy groceries - how to clean up your own mess, and sometimes the messes of others. It was 5 years of paying bills, juggling home ownership with working and going to university. I was thinking of the Mulvey house as I passed by the street the other day. I think those were pretty fun years. Now for Micheal - his experience has been totally like Alvin and mine - we went straight from dangling our legs under our parents dining room tables - to getting married and moving out. Pretty much a steep learning curve in some aspects. There was no "3 month probation"... you just jumped in with two feet and did it! I think Micheal is doing just fine!!

Celebrating their first anniversary takes me back to our first one - and for the life of me, I can't remember what we did - but it was likely lots of fun. Funny how that memory just does not stick with me - I remember what I got... somehow, if my memory does serve me correctly, now that I think of it - we celebrated at my sister and brother-in-law's cottage. We went out there with our friends Al and Jan who were not married. And, that's right - I believe that Jan and I slept together, and Al and Alvin slept together (again, that was because Al and Jan were just dating). We did chuckle about that come to think of it!

This year we celebrated 31 years. Wow - where does time go?

This past year we have watched Ash and Michael make decisions, and wrestle with the fun things that come with learning how to live as husband and wife! I would say that they are figuring it out as it comes, and as parents - we are there to love, to help, to support, to give wisdom when asked. It has been a good year. At least I think it has.

Ash and Michael have gone through the first exciting year of their lives together but it has not been without working through the deep grief of losing Jay. It was such an extreme - their wedding was such extreme joy - at a time when we were also walking in such deep sorrow. Strange how both extremes can co-exist.

So a year later - they are more seasoned in their love for one another - they are more seasoned as a married couple - and no doubt looking ahead to the rest of life together.

Ashley and Michael - I will always remember your wedding day - a mom doesn't forget the days that her children get married on. It is my prayer for you, that you will experience as much joy, laughter, love as Dad and I have. Always keep laughter as part of your relationship - it is amazing what that will get you through. Remember that we are always here for you... always.

We love you - more than you know. Happy Anniversary kids.
love mom and dad

posted by Mom - Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Friday, September 25

EXIT - stage left

When I was young - I used to watch cartoons. In the cartoon, a pink mountainlion named Snagglepuss used to always say, "Exit, stage left." Well - on that note - I can say that last night, I just went through my "EXIT INTERVIEW" ... I know, some have asked "Exit interview - what is THAT?" My bigger question is, now that I have shared, really, what difference does it make? Now the powers that be, will get the info they wanted (for whatever reason I am not sure) and really, what do they do with it? I guess really, it is just protocol, especially since we have a newly put together H.R. team at the church. At least now - it has been done. The process is complete as far as unemploying an employee. This information can now be filed into my file. And the file closed. Will the file contain any of my wet tears?
This EXIT - now becomes "water under the bridge" so to speak. I say that with sadness. It is my Exit stage left!! Anyhow - it was hard and yet easy, as I was meeting with Sigi, who is the rep from our newly formed HR team, and my Pastoral Advisor Marilyn, who is such a gift from God. Now, my time in paid pastoral ministry is done. D.O.N.E. Done.
I realize that the "job satisfactions" all involved loving and caring for people!! What a plus! I got to work in a place were people loved and trusted me! I will be forever thankful!

On another note - I woke up early this morning - to do a few last minute things before our real estate agent comes to take pictures, etc...
And, I had to find some info in our filing cabinet... and I found that (the current tax bill) and kept leafing through the stuff and found a poem I had written.
As I read it - I realized that I could just as well be writing it now too. So, I thought I would share it with you. I wrote it January 24th, 2005. I wrote it as I was thinking of some good friends, one whom had just lost his wife, and one whom was going through some emotional struggle, and one who walks beside that person day by day. Thinking of my friends brought me to these words... but really they express my heart today as well. Here it is:

The Father's Embrace

The cold air hits my nostrils
And the sound of snow crunching under my boots
reminds me that this is winter...and it is cold.

The snow covers the ground like a thick quilt
Still untouched by motorists, it remains white
although in a matter of time it will become muddy.

Everything seems white, and still
everything seems to carry on living, celebrating, existing, and yes, dying.
Everything seems to be in its normal cycle.

I trudge along
soon becoming oblisious to all the sounds around me.
Hearing only the thoughts that rattle around my head
and feeling the overwhelming ache that seems to have consumed my heart.

God ... you know all about me.
Why don't you take this pain away?
How much more can I stand - or will I soon crumple under the weight of it all?

God ... I know you are here.
I know that - because under normal circumstances
I would be a broken mess,
unable to walk through this life - yet, I am here and still able to walk.

God ... why?
Why did this happen?
What is the reason?
How can I go on?
When will it end?
The questions come fast and furious,
without the chance for an answer between them.
Was I even expecting God to answer?

God. Please God... speak.
Please let me know that you hear me.
Please let me know that no matter what, you are there.
Please let me know that one day it will all feel better,
And, that one day - I will feel whole again.

And then, a warm rush, like a current running through my body...
A whisper in my ear...
And, what was that? It felt like something soft brushing against my cheek.
Almost like a kiss.
Still oblivious to the sights and sounds around me, there was something new.
A sense of somthing filling the empty void in my inner being.
My thoughts have stopped rebounding around my head.
The ache in my soul, that felt it was almost unbearable - has been replaced.
At this time
At this moment
With a sense of arms wrapping me...
Holding me...
Embracing me...
Drawing me nearer...
Holding me tight.

And I know, without a doubt
I am again, in the Father's Embrace.

O Lord - I know that even though I don't feel you - and often when I think I am alone - that you are here with me. I am always in your embrace. Sometimes I just don't feel it! Thank you Lord - that you are always walking with me, picking me up off the ground, dusting me off, wiping my tears, and sometimes you carry me in your arms, held close to your heart. I love you Lord - Father, God, Jesus, Redeemer and Rock. Holy Spirit - guide and lifegiving power. You are amazing three in one - God.

picture at the top is from a bumpersticker offered at
Maybe I should buy it! lol
Posted by the mouse herself (Joy)who is quite enjoying life!!
Posted Friday, September 25th, 2000 at 9:50 am

Sunday, September 20

Transparent and Real ~ I like that.

On Saturday, Alvin and I were at part 2 of a wedding celebration of two friends. Actually the first part - the ceremony and dessert reception was on Friday - and it was a wonderful time. I had the privilege of officiating at the marriage. The couple had put alot of thought into the way the evening went. It was beautiful.

Alvin and I helped oversee the clean-up, and then left for home. Saturday we got up and got to work around the house and yard. I don't know what I would do without my husband - he is one amazing man. He has been working his butt off dejunking the sheds, etc. And, doing some finishing touches on stuff around the house. You know, stuff that you just get used to when you are living with it. Now that we are wanting to sell our house - we need to refurbish a couple things. It is so nice to see the "end in sight" so that Lord willing, we can call Dave (maybe even today!) to come and list it.

Anyhow - back to Saturday. We got to the place (Six Pines ranch) where we were to enjoy such a great time of visiting, amazing food, laughing, talking, sitting around a campfire and squaredancing. The dancing was so much fun! HOWEVER - the one thing that I loved, is that while I was watching Frank and Karis - I was impressed with how real and transparent they were in the way they live, and talk, and interact with others. Frank has been our friend for many years now - likely about 9-10... Karis, we are getting to know, and have only known her for a couple years. I will always think of Frank as my "pastor".

It was wonderful to watch them - during the service - the way they looked at one another. I loved to watch as they worshipped through the music. I had also enjoyed a visit with them a week before the wedding to talk over the plans. There is no pretense with them. What you see is what you get. I love that! At the party on Saturday night - Karis sang a song to Frank. It was fun to see her have fun, or as she said, "do something cheesey". That being said - she was real. I loved that too.

I think that it is only in being transparent, that we grow in community. I think however, that being transparent results in you becoming vulnerable. There is risk involved with being real. I think it's worth it! If there is anything that speaks louder than words - it is "realness"... in this day and age - there are too many copies/imitations out there.

Sometimes you run the risk of putting yourself "out there" and then wonder why you did it. I have experienced that too. A couple months ago, I was speaking with someone in ministry. Actually he is (in his job) known as the Pastor to those of us who were in pastoral positions within our denomination. We talked about "hurts" and what to do with them. He was someone who has been in ministry a long time, and had walked through some hard times. We talked and drank coffee. He wanted to know more about my journey, and why I had chosen to resign, and what I was moving ahead to. Talking about my journey resulted in sharing some of my grief, some hurts and disappointments that were part of my last year. He felt that I needed to call a meeting with some people who I felt misunderstood by, and to share where I was at with them. To think of all of it, and to write it down, and put it out there. To be transparent. At this point, I told him that was what I had done - And, as he was glad to hear that - I told him that it "backfired" because while I was sharing my heart (afterall these people wanted to hear about my journey) but in the end, I found out that they felt like they were victims. Hmmm.... baffling. He just looked at me, and shook his head. If I remember correctly, I think he also mentioned he was sorry to hear that.

So I carry on, trying to figure out how to work through the sadness that has resulted. Angry? Not at all. Just plain sad. Sad that I was invited to share, that I dared to be "real" and share my hurts and disappointments. Sad that it appears that my heart was not heard - and Sad that these people who had influence in my life - ended up feeling like they were the victims. I was the one walking through grief - and hurt and yet in the end, I apparently hurt them with my honesty and truth. Go figure.

I shared openly and honestly. I felt we needed to clear misunderstanding and hurt. Instead it only served to create more. Resulting in more sadness. How does that happen. Seems we are not immune whether we are believers or not. Someone questioned if I had higher and unrealistic expectations from christians. Really? I think not. If we can't find a caring community in those who are supposed to be Christ-like - then what should we expect? What WOULD Jesus have done? Somehow I don't think he would have felt like a victim. I think he would have just done a whole lot of embracing, and very little talking. A whole lot of weeping with us, and very little giving instructions on what should be done! A whole lot of coming along side, instead of drawing a line and choosing sides. Hmmm... more food for thought. I do thank God though, that what we have experienced is only one exception to the rule - but it is still hard. It is something that I have not experienced in the christian community before - and it is just plain hard and sad.

So now, a few months later, we are trying to figure out what being real looks like - and at the risk of becoming vulnerable. Personally, I would still rather "be real" and "speak the truth in love" than to go around and pretending. That is not me. That is not my husband's way either. What you see - is what you get. Albeit, at this point in my life - I feel like some "filters" have come off! (or is that a 50's thing!!) I would much rather walk through life "real" than walking and people never really knowing what makes me tick!

Frank and Karis impressed us with their authenticity, and their walk of integrity. I also want to walk with integrity as a christian woman. I think that when God is your strength - you can do anything, no matter how hard. I thank God for friends like Frank and Karis, who we learn from. I thank God for friends in my life who have been there to listen through our journey in grief. I thank God for friends who don't just want to hear that we are "okay" but that care enough to continue to ask the hard stuff - and to listen. I guess that is what I had thought we perhaps had, when I dared to share with those that invited me to do just that. Maybe one day - they will see that my realness - was just inviting them into where I was at, and how I had been affected. Then again, maybe not. My counsellor did tell us that in life - some people will just not "get it". That, makes me sad.

I also know that I want to allow others to be real with me too - and realize that in order to do that - open communication is key. I've learned a few things about that too. Speaking the truth in love is easier said than done sometimes. I want to listen more, and talk less - to use my God-given gift of compassion, to just really "be there" for people.

O Lord - please give me a heart to forgive the hurt, the misunderstanding, and pain that comes with being real with people. There will be hurt in our past - hurt in our present and hurt in our future, because the reality is - this is life. We are imperfect and sinful people. Forgive me Lord for the times I have spoken in haste or the times when I have judged others. Help me to live for you - fully, completely... with realness - with authenticity - with transparentcy - with love - with you as my guide HOly Spirit. Lord, make me more like you. And Lord - can you cause healing to happen, and show us how that could look. Help me to follow you for guidance - and to be able to find those who are okay with who I am, and how I share. In turn, help me to be that person to others. Give me ears to hear - eyes to see - a mouth to speak when necessary. Lord, give me hands and feet to serve - a heart to love unconditionally. Give me courage to go where I am afraid - courage to live this adventure that You O Lord, have me on. Thank you for friends who encourage and live "Jesus" to those around us. Thank you - my Lord and my God. Amen.

posted by Joy - Monday, Sept 21, 2009

Friday, September 18

No white flour ~ No white sugar ~ No dairy! (*sigh*)

Well - today is Friday. Where does time go? I find that the boxes of "to give away" and the bags "to throw away" have consumed my life!! Phew - not done yet, but getting there.

In the midst of this week - on Wednesday - I traveled to the Center for Natural Medicine to see Leyla, who is an amazing and bubbly, encouraging and friendly (not to mention knowledgable) young woman who oversees me in my new way of eating. (First Line Therapy). (eventually I will be able to re-add dairy, but I am still adhering to the plan that Dr. Schrader has put me on - no white flour, no white sugar and no dairy.) As I walk down the stairs with her - we usually do the usual banter - how are you, beautiful day outside type of conversation. I feel like she has become my friend, my confidante. Funny - how does that happen. (does paying $20 for a weekly check-in have anything to do with it - I hardly think so.) What I have noticed is that Leyla takes interest in what I am saying, and is able to pull out the things that should be asked: for instance, we had set some goals (4 to be exact) - how did your week go?

It gave me a chance to talk to her about how I had gone home so encouraged the week before - encouraged to forge ahead - to make wise choices about what to eat (OR NOT). I had a chance to share the weekend with her (my thank-you party, our come and go event on the land, the barbecue with staff, and yes, even the most delicious chocolate cake that Carolyn made for me for the thank-you party!) Okay - you don't have to ask me HOW I knew it was DELICIOUS!!

And then - because I have chosen to get weighed weekly (and to come weekly is my choice too, and I need the accountability) - I walk with her to the room with the big manual doctor-type scale. There is NO fooling yourself with this one. I watch as she slides the little silver thing, trying to find it's balancing point! I am down 4 LBS!! For a total of (drumroll here) 11 LBS. (God, thank you for helping me to stay committed, and for walking me through this!)

WOOHOOO!!!! Yep, I am feeling excited. Okay - most of all however - I am feeling SOOOOO Good!! My fibromyalgia pain is at a minimum. My energy is increased. I have a way more positive attitude. (Ask Alvin about this, as he says my attitude is the way he knows how I am eating!) So - my goal is 68 lbs.... I have lost 11 which means I am 57 lbs away to GOAL. WOOOOHOOOO!! (sorry, I am just so pumped!)

But you know the thing is - back in winter when I talked with my counsellor Mary about how I felt like there was NOTHING in control in my home/my life/my world - we talked about whether the outter chaos affected the inner chaos which was also related to my struggle with weight. Mary said, she felt that when I began to purge and de-junk my home - the whole weight issue would also be affected as a result. I believed her then, and I believe her even more now!

So, sorry for bragging - but I am feeling so encouraged. As I will quote my facebook friend Laura (from Lose Weight with Laura group on facebook) "we are going to look and feel so fine in 2009! If you struggle with weight issues and you want to meet another encouraging woman - joing the Lose Weight with Laura group on facebook - I have come to love and appreciate, and also email back and forth with Laura. She is another gift from God to me!!

Seems like this week - I can thank God for many gifts from him - in the form of women who love and encourage me! I am so blessed (and did I say, 11 lbs lighter! sorry, I just had to say it again!)

Lord, thank you for your strength to overcome these weight struggles. I know God that you have created me in your image. I also know that when I follow healthy life styles in regards to the way to eat, and exercise - that I feel stronger and healthier - and I believe this is how I can take care of the "temple" you have given me. Thank you Holy Spirit for your nudging and prompting in those times of temptation. Help me to make wise choices that will in turn help me to get physically stronger and healthier. Lord, I give you the honor and the glory - even for this weight loss. I believe you celebrate with me - and will continue to do so. Help me to keep my eyes on you - and not on myself. Help me to not become proud or arrogant. Thank you Lord for the women you put in my life - who are my encouragers - first of all my girls, and my sisters - and then women like Leyla, and Laura... and Elizabeth and Kim who all have experienced the push and pull of weight/food related issues. Lord, I am truly truly blessed. Thank you. Amen

Monday, September 14

Shaken ~ Stirred and left without words!

Today I sit here at my computer. Up at 7, in the tub with a coffee and a book - it is a new day. And oh what a weekend it has been!

Yesterday is but a whirlwind of memories! Alvin and I began our day back at our church for a "thank you party" in my honor. Last night, I told Alvin that it was as close to your own funeral as possible... and what I meant is, USUALLY it is only when one dies that you hear such accolades about a person being spoken! Well, I haven't died - but was totally overwhelmed with what people said about me. Overwhelmed. (Oh Lord - all of this is only to give you praise and honor and glory - as it is only through your grace that I live, move, and have my being. )

Seven years of ministry - and so much blessing. So much! Lisa, Marilyn and Karis put the morning together. Our young care group sang one of my favorite songs! I sang with tears rolling. I listened as woman upon woman came up and totally blessed me! What a joy to be working in and among such amazing people of God! Gerald, whom I worked side by side with - also blessed and affirmed my ministry. It was a beautiful morning - so much thought was put into the event by the three women (dear sweet sisters) and at the end I was blessed with beautiful pottery that will be packed up and used in the retreat center! As well - I received about $400 dollars for the retreat ministry, but then got another cheque for Women Refreshed at the Well after the service. Oh what an affirmation!

Then we went to our extended family (the Thiessen's) for lunch - impromtu but delicious, and the fellowship with Elmer, Jeannette and their kids which include our Ash and Mike - is always so fun. And then - onto our land for the COME AND GO ~ WALK AND PRAY.

Before we were even done setting up - the cars began arriving - and people came, and prayed and sat around a campfire - and stood around - and had refreshments and just totally blessed us, the land, and the ministry!! Friends - family - and new friends as well whom we had never met before! It was such a wonderful time of fellowship!

At one point, a thick envelope was given to Alvin, and he hid it in the truck. Later, when we were on our way into the city for our "staff" party/bbq - Alvin said there was an envelope for me. I opened it and wept. There in mostly $20 dollar bills - I counted $1000.

We went to the bbq - and enjoyed fellowship there, and then went home - exhausted from a non-stop day of blessing!! And, for once - we have hardly any words to express the overflow of our hearts! Perhaps the words I heard someone else say the other day - express our hearts! We have been shaken up and stirred!!

Thank you - those of you who came and prayed.
Thank you - those of you who could NOT come physically but prayed.
Thank you - those of you who will continue to pray!!

Thank you - those of you who believe in us, our walk with God, and our call to this ministry that HE has entrusted to us.

There are hardly ANY words!! We are shaken and stirred!
Speechless -
Lord - we give you all the honor, the glory - the praise!!
Thank you Lord.

Saturday, September 12


To purge or not to purge! And when I say this, I mean to "de-junk" and clean-up and bring order to my home! It is a L-O-N-G time coming! A few years ago (2006) when I was going to have my hysterectomy, I mentioned to Josh that I wanted to clean up the house (purge/dejunk)in case anything happened to me! (I had literally just been through a near-death experience in the hospital, and well, I guess I just was thinking I wanted my house to be in order.) WELL - it didn't happen then, but Josh made me laugh when he said, "MOM, it's okay. If something happened we would just get someone to haul the junk away, but tell me where the books with the money hidden in them are!" (no, there is no money in the books, no money in the bank, no money!!)

Anyhow fast forward to now - 2009. Slightly over three years later - and finally, FINALLY it is happening. Still no books with money in them!! Somethings never change! (smile)

I don't find it much fun to do this by myself - and usually Alvin and I are working on it, or Alvin and Michael (did the outside sheds) or Alvin, Josh and Michael - did some fix up on the house etc. Ash and I have worked a couple days now - at purging the house of the stuff. Stuff!! Okay honestly - you know what I found (and promptly threw out?) The bows off the floral arrangements that I got when Josh was born!! Why would I save something like that? Ash and I had a groan over that one!!

Today Ashley came out for the afternoon. She had worked last night, so had the afternoon off in lieu ... and bless her heart, she came out to help me!! At that point I had already done a little bit of work around the house - and could hardly wait till she came out. Somehow it is easier for her to throw things out - and so we filled boxes and bags and more boxes and more bags. We stacked things at the front door - so we can just take it out and load. There is stuff for the DUMP run tomorrow morning - and there is stuff for Salvation Army second hand store - and there are boxes of books for Alvin to take to the firehall for the Hospital Book drive. STUFF. STUFF and MORE STUFF!

I thought the picture would be worth a thousand words. So, here I sit - it is after midnite and I am typing this. After Ash and I were done for the day - I went into the city to Costco (to get stuff for our Come and Go at our land on Sunday) and then went to Sobeys (for the things I couldn't get at Costco) and then went to Ash and Mike's for supper. (QUITE YUMMY!) And then came back home.

At one point during my counselling with Mary - I mentioned how I was having trouble with the whole "weight" issue (the same 50+ pounds that have been my struggle for half my life!) I told her that somehow I felt like everything was out of control! There was no order - in my home, with our grief, with my work, with my weight... it just felt messy all over! (I am so thankful that God is okay with "messy!"
Anyhow, Mary said that she thought that once I get some order in my house (I wanted to clean it back in January already!) that she thought there may be a connection to the weight struggle. And I believe she is right! It is cool that I am also bringing some order to the way I am eating, exercising, and just trying to get healthy. Lord, help me never to become proud - ever! It is only in HIS strength that I do any of this!

So, tonight I say, thank you Lord - I feel very content!! I feel stronger in all ways. I feel like I am loving the way "orderliness" looks in my home. I love this dejunking thing, although it is a ton of work!! 26 YEARS OF STUFF!!

Tomorrow Michael is coming out with Alvin in the morning. Josh and Leah are out of town otherwise I think we may have convinced them to come too! Ashley will come out after her course tomorrow. It feels good to have their help. It just feels GOOD!
Tonight I go to bed - yes, my back is sore - but my heart is content and good! Lord, thank you.

Thursday, September 10

10 things on the 10th day

I just realized again that my daughter Ashley wrote about ten things on her blog last week - and I am going to write that today! Today is Sept 10th. I can hardly believe it! This morning when the Lord and I spent some time together - I asked the Lord to walk through the day with me and to give me strength, grace, joy and peace through whatever it was that I would encounter! Today was a wonderful day!
So here are just 10 things that I thank God for!
1) Coffee. Right now I am drinking fairtrade coffee (my nephew Gord would be proud of me!) While I admit I love strong bold fresh coffee with CREAM once in a while - I have not had cream for longer than I can remember now! This morning I got up to the smell of coffee brewing! My man makes a good pot of coffee!!

2) MASSAGE THEREAPY by Trudy! Trudy is my friend, a sister in Jesus, and an amazing massage therapist. There are times when I know that Trudy is praying as she works on me. Other times we chat, and well sometimes we share tears together! I love Trudy my friend. Today I loved the massage too!!

3) The 43 km ride into the city (one way distance) takes 1/2 hour. So often this is when the Lord and I just delight in each other's company. It is a great time to listen. To be still. To pray. Sometimes I have been known to sing to a CD at the top of my lungs. (yet I hate kereoke!)

4) Music! The international language. I alternate (in the car) between Lite Rock and Christian music station. Music - oh I am so thankful that it moves my soul!

5) The Line-Up restaurant in the Exchange District in Winnipeg. It was lunch time. The sun was shining. They had amazing food - and an outside patio. I felt like I was on vacation somewhere. Ummm, yummy. (and my meal was bought for me!) (actually second time in a row, as my daughter bought me lunch the other day too)

6) Good friends - oh I have such good friends. Lord, thank you. Today, I went to the Line-Up at the invitation of my friends Karis and Frank (whom I have the privilege of performing the marriage ceremony for next week. We needed to get together and chat - and chat we did. It was so good. We laughed, we talked, we joked, and prayed together. And, they were the ones who treated me to lunch.

7) The number of pounds I have lost as of yesterday! Okay - I am very happy about this - 7 lbs in a month - I am into week 5 of no white flour, no white sugar and no dairy. WHY you ask? Well, first of all - because I know it makes me feel better - less "mental fog" - more energy - way way way less pain with my fibromyalgia and just a better attitude!! So I have tried this before (actually in 1996 I did this from November to January and lost 34 lbs) but then I resorted back to old ways. I had a great visit with Dr. Schrader (naturapath) and then Leyla (fitness expert) and I was re-energized to stay true to this plan - because even though I need to lose alot of weight - it is attainable, but I need to keep focused on the goal. AND, as I reminded myself today - there is a verse in Psalms - about "with the Lord, I can scale a wall!" I figure trying to lose 50+ lbs is more than equivalent to "scaling a wall"... So, I came away from my app yesterday with a renewed commitment to go into week 5 strong. My goals this week: get back to journalling my food plan; exercising daily, and drinking all my water. SO FAR< SO GOOD!! (except for the fact that I am always looking for a washroom!!) Anyhow - 7 down, and 61 to go. (goal is 68 - 75) Stay tuned!! The food plan I am following is called FIRST LINE THERAPY and it is quite something really. Dr. S took me a little farther though with the no dairy - as he is trying to eliminate yeast in my blood. Dairy is in everything - and the hardest to cut out! (how many ways can you create things with eggs before you get tired of them at breakfast!)

8. My husband and kids! Okay, because we are purging our junk so that we can list our house and not scare people away - it means that we have alot of stuff to throw out, or to give away. (sometimes I really wonder WHO would buy my junk!) Anyhow, this morning at 6:30 - my husband was getting ready to meet the boys (BLUE JAY FAMILY WORKS) and before he went, loaded (and I mean LOADED) his truck FULL of boxes and boxes of stuff to drop off at Salvation Army. I thank God for the man he gave me!! And my kids - who continue to encourage me, and help me, and make me laugh! I thank God for good cell phone plans that include free minutes for MTS to MTS cell calls - and for unlimited texting! Tomorrow Ashley is coming out for half a day and helping me again. I am so thankful.

9. The tumbling, kicking and little unseen antics of my second grandbaby! Today when I stopped past Josh and Leah's I sat on the couch as we talked. And I caught a few "kicks or pushes" happening. O Lord, I am so thankful for my little grandbaby that we are excited to welcome in December! I will begin to make my second flannel rag quilt - this time Leah is going to help pick out the flannel. I can hardly wait to do this next quilt. I'll admit - it is a labor of love. And I have another piece from my grad dress to sew into the quilt, just as I did for Jay Benjamin's. As I sewed Jay's I sewed in prayers and lots of love. I will do that again for this one.

10. Creation attests to the greatness of our God! The sun on my skin today! How often do we have to use our AC in our cars in the month of September. Today I think it got up to 29 degrees celcius!! The sun on my skin - the blue sky - the colors of flowers all mixed together. The sight of our cats Vanilla and Louis relaxing in the warmth. The sound of my dog Oreo lapping up cool water. The sound of bluejays in my yard. And now - the sound of thunder...
Lord, you are such an amazing God - awesome and mighty - creator!! Thank you.

There is so much more!! SO MUCH! Lord, I am sooooooooo thankful!!

Monday, September 7

l-o-n-g weekend thots

This weekend, which at this point is quickly coming to a close - was beautiful! While it only included half of my kidlets - since Ash and Mike were away with Michael's family on a camping trip. However, we did get to spend part of the time with Josh and Leah (and baby incognito!). So what did the weekend include?
- I got to help Leah cut out some stuff for kindergarten. That was alot of fun, and we got to talk while we did it.
- I got some time to read some of the books I need to read for my course in Spiritual Direction. The book I finished was called SHATTERED DREAMS and I kept reading excerpts to Alvin, telling him "when I am done with this - you have to read it!"
- I got to go on some walks both with Alvin, with Josh and Leah and also by myself. I love to just drink in God's greatness as I walk. There is a most amazing garden close to our cottage - on Hank's Cove. It is beautiful!
- I got to wade through the slough (ewwwww) in order to get to one of the most amazing beaches in the world!! We went Sat. afternoon with Josh and Leah and it was so beautiful. It felt like being on the beach in a caribbean country AND BONUS - it is only an hour from the city!!
- I got to run into some extended family while we were on the beach! A family reunion and it was good to see Tracey and Jay and their boys, and Amber, and Theresa and her little girl.
- I got to visit with good friends/family: Kim, Kevin, Willy, Betty, Lloyd and Judy.
We went and spent time on Elk Island - including a weenie roast, and then came back for an impromtu left over potluck at our place. The evening ended with a rousing game of buzzword. We let the guys win!! (okay, they beat us!)
- I got to spend time in one of the most quiet settings - and spent it with my man.
How good is that!!

Over the course of the weekend, we heard a few times from our baby... Ash and Michael were having a great time too - so while we missed them - they were having such a good time.

It was hard to believe that the beautiful weekend was the long weekend in SEPT and not July or August. Finally we are getting the summer we have been waiting for. Now, if only the mosquitoes weren't so awful! I am still feeling the effects of now being unemployed - and waiting on God for whatever He has for me - part time.
I am trying not be overwhelmed, but it sneaks up on me once in a while! In the meantime - I have alot of work to be doing here at home, as we purge, purge and purge some more! Which reminds me - I gotta run - need to clean up the kitchen!

O Lord - thank you for this most amazing weekend that you gave to us! Thank you for the beautiful weather - for the blue sky - for the coolness of the lake - for the fellowship of family and good friends. Lord, thank you also for whatever you have for me in the future - help me not to be overwhelmed, as I can do that very easily. Lord - please provide the partime job I feel that you want me to have - I am trusting you on this one! And, in the quiet moments that I have - which are alot now - help me to hear you Lord - and to seek you above everything else. Lord thank you for everything you are doing in our lives, in my life. Lord - to you we give all the praise and the honor and the glory! Amen.

Wednesday, September 2

I just love my man!! Today is our anniversary!! 31 years~ 35 being in love!!

Today is our anniversary – 31 years ago, we became man and wife!! It is hard to believe in some ways – it seems like yesterday. And the very cool thing is – I still love my man! I also think that God gave me the greatest gift humanly speaking – in the gift of my husband. I will never forget seeing him coming down the stairs at MBCI – the first day of school in Sept of 1976. I still remember what I was wearing too – as we didn’t have to wear our KILTS (the uniform at the time) on the first day of school. There he was – a white t-shirt, jeans and high top converse sneakers. He had big hair – and it was a little wildly coiffed!! Or not coiffed at all! Alvin. Alvin Klassen. My life changed that day – as I just seemed to KNOW that this was the man I was going to marry.

We began dating “officially going steady” on November 21st of that year 1976 and we have been “in love” since. We were both 16. We dated for a couple months short of 4 years – and then we got married, at the age of 20. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies – much like today!! That was the day I went from being a THOMAS to a KLASSEN.

We have been going steady and madly in love for 35 years out of our 51 years of life!! That is a long time!!

Lately (especially yesterday when Ash and Mike were out) we were purging the junk downstairs – and of course some of that included miscellaneous lists, etc that I kept (lists from wedding planning etc.) Who keeps that stuff?? (I did – and lots of it!)
Anyhow – I came across a scrapbook my mom made for one of my showers. On one of the pages was something that my Granny wrote. Now, I don’t think it was written for me – as when she passed away, she had just gotten to know Alvin. Actually the first time she met him, he drove her home, and as she was getting out of his little VW bug – she hugged him and kissed him!! We laughed as my Granny didn’t do that to just anyone!!

Anyhow, she was not around for my wedding, as she passed away in 1977. But my mom included something that Granny had written. It is in her handwriting too – which makes me miss her! I loved my Granny!

Here it is – good advice from Granny Ladell – for anyone!

LET GOD BE GOD – in your family tangles

Loving is work. Living in a family is great. But it’s not simple. Each person in your house has a will of his won and the sparks fly and tears flow. Home may be one of the toughest tests of your Christianity. In fact the rugged demands of the close family circle may be almost impossible – unless you let GOD BE GOD!

You’ve got the mortgage and doctor bills. The kids are getting poor grades. Everybody needs the car at the same time. And you never quite keep up with the crowd. You have to admit when you are all by yourself, that you never really feel like you’re out from under the pressure. And, you won’t be – unless you can center your love and loyalty in Jesus Christ. The word of God is still the supreme blueprint for all of life’s snarls.