Thursday, December 30

perfect peace?

I read this portion last night before I went to bed.  Seems I am not sleeping so well these days.  Sometimes I have a hard time believing that God does have things under his control.  I like to have my ducks in a row even if my personality is to "fly by the seat of my pants" which by the way, is getting harder with each year I grow older.  (That being said I do KNOW from my past, that God CAN be trusted ... sometimes I just have a harder time giving control over to Him I guess.)

So I read this.  And re-read it.  And read it in different versions.  And have read it over again and again this morning.  And read it out loud to Alvin too during breakfast.  (O Lord enlarge my faith!)

Isaiah 26:3-4 (New King James Version)

3 You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
4 Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.

(New Living Translation)
3 You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4 Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

(The Message)
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don't quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.

O Lord -
may I depend on you
may I keep at it
may I find peace
this... THIS is my prayer for us all.

Saturday, December 18

Happy First Birthday Sweet One

Everett John

My little sweet boy
my grandson
do you know how much I love you?
of course not
you are just barely ONE!
A mixture of your mommy and daddy
with bits of your grandparents mixed in
your blue eyes sparkle at the wonder around you
and your serious look morphs into a smile readily and easily.

O sweet one - my second grandson
Everett John
how your granny and poppa love you
We watch you walking
and wonder where the time went
the last year has moved along
and your birth brought us so much joy
our hearts overflow!

Little One
you love to snuggle
and play peek a boo
coming quickly to look around the corner and find us
you love your toys
and we notice how much you are learning more with each new day
you are a living breathing miracle little one
made in the image of God - whom we hope you grow up to love and trust fully

Little sweet Everett
Your name means "brave one"
and it is my prayer little One, that you will live boldly,
and that God will use you in life - for His glory
It is my prayer that you will live boldly
and that you will be "dangerous" for Jesus
meaning that you will not be satisfied to live complacently
or comfortabley
or just settle for status quo
but that you my sweet Grandson,
will give your life to Jesus, and live all out for HIM.

Dear Little One
I love to hold you
and play "Round and Round the Garden went the Teddy Bear"
I love to sing Jesus Loves Me
and The Birdies in the Treetop
You love music
You settle against me as I sing
or you bend your knees and move to the music!
music makes you dance!
I love that!

Today we watched as you opened your gifts
as you looked at us
wondering what occasion had us all in the same place
and not realizing that it was YOU we were celebrating.
O Little one - you are a gift to us

You sweet one
are so loved
so very

Happy Birthday Everett John!

love Granny

Friday, December 10

blessed.... truly, truly blessed

I have been thinking about being a granny - and how this is one of the best things in the world! In fact - while parenting my own kids was wonderful... there is something different about grandparenting!  My dad used to have a license plate holder that said - "If I had known grandchildren were so much fun - I would have had them first!"

After work - I headed out to Josh and Leah's to have a quick supper with Leah and Everett and then our little sweet boy and I watched his mommy head off to go and help a friend, and we settled down to some good playtime!

With him walking now - he is just so aware of his surroundings.  Life absolutely delights our little grandson!  I love seeing him taking it all in.  He is showing me the "wow" in life, and whenever I am with him - I am always brought back to what my priorities are. God has blessed me with amazing children, and now grandchildren.  And while we dream and imagine our little Jay running in heaven ... we miss him so much here on earth.  Alvin and I have often seen children whom we assume are about Jay's age - at this point, 2.5 years of age.  And our eyes fill with tears without either of us saying a word.  The heart knows. 
And in a week we will celebrate Everett's first birthday and as we look back we see how he has filled our life with joy - with each gurgle - each giggle - each new stage - new move - and now with seeing him light up with excitement as he recognizes us and runs to us to be lifted up.  Oh what joy.

Tonight we ate - we played - we played some more.  We changed him into his jammies - brushed his teeth - read a book - sang - prayed and laid him in his bed.  As I held him, and he nestled his head onto me - it just felt wonderful.  He loves to be held and I love to hold him.  That is one of the best feelings in the world.

I am blessed.... truly truly blessed.

Thursday, December 9

only my Heavenly Father can love like that!

It is Thursday - although it seems like Friday. I am at Mountain Bean again... you know, I am needing free Internet again.  I am seriously thinking about buying the little portable thingy you pay for monthly and use for Internet.  Have to inquire about that.  The other day we were so desperate to get the emails - and for some reason it was not happening at the Bean.  I realize how much I love checking into the Internet!

It has been a full week of learning for me.  I have learned how to take blood for WHATS YOUR TYPE .. and the next day went to a school and typed kids.  That was fun. Yesterday I went on a mobile for a Blood Clinic and each time I learn something new.  I am loving my job.... absolutely LOVING IT.  I am also loving the people that I am meeting.  I think I am catching on - but I am convinced it is because of the good training I have received from Lynne and Debbie. 

On Tuesday after I got back from the school - I decided to donate.  I was not sure if I could because I had travelled, but Cabos San Lucas is not a risk area.  I had prepared for donating (unlike the time before) and this time my blood "flowed like a river" she said.  There is something amazing about donating... I am pretty new at it - but each time I work I see cards from people that have donated ALOT...
When Mom was in hospital - watching the life blood drip through her IV into her veins - it just really struck me how important donating is.  I am also a pretty rare blood type - B neg.  Each day I am learning more and more about blood donations - so I really encourage you to donate too!!  Did you know each bag of donated blood can help save 3 lives!!

So today is Thursday - and I have a few things to do - and places to go.  The weather outside is not so nice - our Michael will be shoveling again.  But this is December - and well - we have had enough snow already to last us the whole winter! 

I have been so conscious over the past two or so weeks since we have been living at Mom's temporarily - that some of my life is still a little out of order - for instance my journalling time - and my Quiet Time with the Lord.  Yesterday though, I was early to work, and actually sat in the parkade for a little while - and God seemed to direct my thoughts to Hosea chapter 11.  (Yes Hosea) The chapter was titled "THE LORD'S LOVE FOR ISRAEL" and as I read - I just couldn't help but feel that God was saying - "this is for you too"

What did I glean yesterday, sitting in the parkade with my Bible?  (chapter 11 - verses 1 - 4)
Well - it says, "When Israel was a child, I loved him and called my son out of Egypt."   God says that "I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand."  "I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love."  "I lifted the yoke from his neck and I myself stooped to feed him."

But even though God loved Israel SO much.... like a Father loves a child - Israel didn't get it.  It says that "the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me." and that even though God Himself taught Israel how to walk - "But he doesn't;t know or even care that it was I who took care of him."   The bottom line - Israel walked away, and refused to return to God!"

Hmmm.... got me thinking.  There have been times when I have called out to God - cried out - and have known where God has led, intervened, carried me... but there are other times when I can get going on my merry way - and try to do things myself, in my own strength - oh silly me!!  It is usually those times that my life gets busy - and the first things that get pushed aside are my QT with the Lord - and then things just feel messy.  I NEED time with Him.  I know that.  SO why do I always seem to get into these ruts of neglecting Him?

I know how much I love my kids - and my grandsons.  I also know how I feel when I haven't seen my family for a while - or how much I miss talking with them.  Hmm... guess my Heavenly Father feels that way too!
He desires relationship with me - and with you too!

Reading the rest of Hosea 11 however - brings such comfort - as I see the Father's heart continue to bleed love and compassion over his children - even though they are far from Him.  He can not let them go!  It says in verse 8b that "My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows."  He is not mortal like us - BUT it says, verse 9b "I am the Holy One living among you,"

Ah, the love of my Father - draws me right up onto His lap again - and when I lay my head against His chest - I feel and I hear His heart beating....
What love - what absolute love!

Friday, December 3

alone on a Friday night.... at my "special place"

It is Friday night - after seven thirty and I am hanging out in my favorite place - and I am alone.  Alvin is working his second night (of two) and me - I got home from work (thanks to my daughter Ashley who picked me up) and I then took Alvin to work, went to work-out at Curves, went to the store and now came here. I love coming here - because I can drink good coffee and use their free Internet.  You see - right now we are "hanging our hats" at Mom K's condo.  It is a long story - so I will give you the bottom line.  We had to be out of the loft for a couple days while some things were being done.  It has been a little longer than we thought, so each time we make a trip back from the loft to the condo - we seem to have "just one more bag" of stuff. 

Living in Mom's condo has been very interesting.  You see, it still smells like Mom's place - especially as I mentioned before - I could smell the TIDE as it wafted out of the storage room.  I think I will always think of Mom now when I smell TIDE (the powdered type).  In fact today, I got into the car at the end of my shift, and Ashley said - "Mom, you smell like Grandma's condo"  And I realized it was because most of the clothing I had on, including my jacket - had been washed in that powdered TIDE.  Funny how "smells" remind us of people/places and times!

So - like I said we are living at Mom's for the time being.  It is still full of Mom's furniture and household goods.  Of course the hospital bed, and other things are gone - but everywhere we look - there is just evidence of her.  It actually has been good for us to be there as it has helped us to bring closure to the reality of her being gone. 

In the meantime - my sister-in-law Ruth - had the cable and the Internet and the phone all cutoff.  Which means it is very quiet at Mom's.  And that is why I am here checking email.  I did get a phone call from my good friends Betty and Willy and they are planning to come and have coffee here in a while.  So I won't be alone much longer.

It is sort of weird when Alvin works nights - actually I use those nights to catch up on whatever I want to.  Sometimes meeting with girl-friends... or with my kids... or just hanging out and watching a good movie!

Today was a fun day - and a day FULL of learning.  I picked Alvin up at the hall this morning at seven fifteen and then he drove me to work - for seven forty-five.  I was going out on my first "mobile" and by 8 am was in a van with other women - heading for Windsor Park school.  I am training with an amazing woman - whom I have loved getting to know.  Her name is Lynne.  I was telling Alvin as we drove to my workplace that I am LOVING MY JOB!!

This is the first job in a very very long time - that I do not "take home" with me.  I kept being told that I would love being a Donor Services Rep - but I didn't know how much.   I am so thankful that God provided this for me.  So very thankful!!

Anyhow - just got called - and my friends and I are not having more coffee - but instead we are going to a great little joint on Main Street for supper.... so I am outta here!
Have a great evening!  I know that I am!

Tuesday, November 30

the last day of the month before the last month of the year!

November 30, 2010 ~ wow, tomorrow is December 1st.  I am sitting here in Mountain Bean again, since I am in the city - this is the best wireless place to go to.  It has been a couple days since I have checked email, as we are temporarily displaced citizens!!  Just joking.  We are however living at Mom K's condo just for a few days while some things are being completed at Josh and Leah's loft. Our life is always an adventure, and I am really glad that we are able to go with the flow.  (I know sometimes my kids will say I handle the flow better than other times, but this is really quite fine.) 

It has been an experience living in Mom's condo.  Every time I open the door to go in - I am always disappointed when I realize again, Mom is not there.  Her house smells like TIDE powdered detergent.  I think I will always associate that with Mom.  The Tide smell wafts out of the container in the storage room.  Mom's house is a little in disarray.  I can't help but think she would be a little upset with us for having things a little out of order!  Mom was such a tidy housekeeper.  We are in the middle of packing up - and distributing her stuff among family.  In the meantime we have things in little piles.  The phone is disconnected, as is the TV which means that it is pretty quiet in there.  I miss her so much.

I came to the Bean to meet Kim and have a cup of coffee and catch up on friendship.  It was good.  And now - I can catch up on my blog.  It just seems like my return to work has caught me a little off kilter!  I am still working about 24 hours or so a day - but I am still zonked at the end of it.  (Although it is a long day once in a while - yesterday I worked 9:45 till 8:15).  I am loving it though.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is December.  I just took a little stroll backward - looking through the blog from November 2007 until now.  Funny - some thing don't seem to be much different!  What does that say about me?  Perhaps that some things are very deeply rooted.  Not really proud of that, but I have to say - life has been both a journey AND a process!  And a hard one at that!

Regardless of what I have or have not accomplished ... I do know that I am a different person, and God is at work - and will be at work till my dying breath.  I have also realized that life IS hard OFTEN.  And, if you have not experienced that - believe me - you will.  It is not a matter of IF but WHEN.

It was a year ago that I erected the altar in the back forty at Anola!  I was thinking of that last Friday, when I heard Steve Bell singing HERE BY THE WATER when we were at the Siloam Mission Banquet.
Immediately the thoughts of the day that God told me to go and gather rocks and build an altar...
And my thoughts went to the memory of what I must have looked like - with tears in my eyes, and with Oreo my dog sitting quietly as I sang the same song to the Lord!

Later I took more rocks - and Alvin laid a huge one as well.
Later God instructed me to take a felt pen and NAME some of the rocks - which I did.
Later I wrote a Psalm out on one of them (only to find it gone after the spring thaw!)

Sometimes I feel like I need to build an altar again, although I have not received a word from God to do that physically again.  HOWEVER I know that somewhere along the way - I seem to have taken those rocks back upon myself!  I just need to lay them down again.... or perhaps it is a continual process of laying down!

Life carries on - and I continue to walk through the journey...
I know that it is only in HIS power that I can do this.
I know that it is only in HIS power that I can lay them down - and that HE makes them HOLY!

For as long as I live - I am sure the pile of rocks I lay down will make a mountain!  I just really want to keep laying them down. 

Saturday, November 27

desiring to be broken?

Today I was at a craft show at the Vineyard church off Main.  I will be honest - I think that my crafting days are over.  There is very little that truly excites me when it comes to crafts. (especially since for a few years I was heavy duty into the crafting scene - even part of a group that hosted a weekend sale in our home!) Those crafting years seems like eons ago.  A few years ago, when Alvin and I painted our house - I got rid of ALOT of crafts...  yes granted I still had SOME but for the most part, I purged alot of stuff.  All of a sudden "STUFF" just made me feel claustrophobic!  BUT that being said, I still go to the odd craft sale - just because.

Anyhow - that being said, the sale at the Vineyard church building was really done well.  Good publicity.  And some very very unique crafts! 

That is where I talked to my friend Tanis Gray - BROKEN CLAY
and looked over some of her necklaces again.  I met Tanis for the first time last year - I think I may have blogged about that.  I met her at the Scattered Seeds Craft Sale in 2009.  It just seemed to be God-ordained.  Since then we have had the pleasure of chatting over coffee at Sam's Place.  So, since it has been a while - it was good to chat briefly today (since it was pretty busy). 

Immediately one piece caught my eye, and the eye of my daughter as well.  I loved the colors - this one piece was brown with some green.  But what intrigued me even more was the name of the piece.  It was called:

Ash and I looked at it.  And in the back of my mind I thought "I would really like this one" but at the same time I thought "But Joy - do you really DESIRE to be broken?  You have been BROKEN but did you and would you in the future DESIRE brokeness?"  oooooooooooo...

I didn't buy it - although I want to email Tanis about it to see if she could put it away for me so that I can buy it.  But I had to look up her little write up on her website to explain why she chose the title DESIRE TO BE BROKEN.

This is what Tanis says on her website about this piece she created:
"I Fused stained glass onto the clay and found out it crackles as it cools and looks even more beautiful. The key to unleashing the Holy Spirit within us is simply allowing ourselves to become broken. When we have been broken , the things of the flesh removed from our lives, that which is valuable can flow from us and affect others that we come in contact with in our daily lives.All of this and much more will be unleashed in our lives if we learned to simply be broken. Being broken isn't easy. In fact it's painful. As God reveals the things in our lives that need to be released, our flesh will struggle to hold on to them. But if we allow the Spirit to have His way, we will end up a completely broken vessel that affects the lives of others in ways we never imagined. Don't just desire to be blessed. Desire to be broken…."

She then used one of my favorite Scripture:  2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (The Message)

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, He does in us—He lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best!

So since then I have been thinking of that ... of being broken.... of DESIRING to be broken.
That for me - seems like an even different thought.  Although we know that we are to LAY ourselves DOWN for the Lord... but desiring to be broken?

I think so often I have the wrong picture of brokenness.  I think when we see something that has been broken and fixed, it seems like it just doesn't measure up.  It seems like it becomes a "second" because something is wrong with it.  BUT when we read the Scripture about clay vessels - the whole idea of brokenness is turned on its head.  All of a sudden it makes sense.  All of a sudden brokenness seems to have a purpose.

But - being broken hurts.  I know that.  Many of you know that.  There is nothing, nothing NOTHING that feels good about being broken.  And sometimes we feel like we are broken not just into two pieces but into a million.  And yet - in this Scripture is says that even we we are sometimes "thrown down but not broken" ... I will be honest, I have to stop and think about that.  WHY?  Because I honestly felt broken in a million little pieces so if I wasn't broken, then I can't imagine how much more painful that would be TO be broken.
Okay, I am likely not making much sense. 

THE BOTTOM LINE:  does anyone desire to be broken?  really and truly?  I honestly just thought "it happens" to us.  I honestly have wondered "why Mr. Cranky over there continues to be so cranky and yet floats through life untouched" ...  I have honestly wondered why God allows some things for some and not for others.  I feel like I have encountered brokenness over and over and over again.  But honestly, not sure I ever "desired to be broken".  Hmmmmm..... 

Yes, I am "talking out loud" again - me, the verbal processor!  And you, are likely wondering where I am going with all this.  Well here are some of my summations (is that a word?) as I look through my experiences with brokenness.  In most cases they have involved loss of something.  Loss of those I loved so deeply.  Loss of health, when I encountered my depression in the mid nineties.  Loss of mobility at times, with my fibromyalgia.  Loss of trust with people.  Loss of work (even though I resigned, it was still a loss).  And if you have read my blog you will know about my greatest loss of my grandson Jay. 

For me - I associated brokenness with loss.  With tears.  With emotional anguish.  With broken hearts. 
I associated brokenness wtih things that were painful in one way or another.  BUT... just this week - I was talking with people about this.  And I see where my brokenness has been woven into the great plan and purpose that God has for me.  I am not sure that I can honestly say THANK YOU LORD for the brokenness... but I can see how He has taken my brokenness and brought healing, and growth and used it for his glory.  I have seen that in the brokenness - how I walk in it - depends on me and whether I am bitter or whether I allow God to carry me through it - so that I see something beautiful come from it.  I don't know - maybe I am just rambling now...

But, the neckace today has made me wonder about that... about desireing to be broken.  Part of me is scared that if this is my true desire - perhaps it would get so bad that I would not be able to stand under it.  However God speaks about that too, doesn't He... in the Word it talks about not being given so much that we can't bear it!  (I don't know - I actually felt like I crumbled under our brokenness of losing Jay.)

I am just really wondering about this.  I am thinking that if Tanis is around for coffee .... her and I should talk.  I know she has walked through hard stuff too, and think she can give her perspective on it!

We are given friends in life - so that we can bear one another's burdens' and carry one another's sorrow.  We are given friends so that we can hold one another up - listen to each other - cry with each other.
But then again - Jesus is the greatest friend of all.

Desiring to be broken.  Can I actually desire that without being aftraid of what all He may allow in my life?
hmmm....  think I need to mull this around over another big cup of coffee.

.. thanks for listening to my rambling.  Any thoughts?  I would love to hear them.

Saturday, November 20

brrrrrrrrrrrr..... winter

I will make no bones about it - I hate winter.
I know, I know .... Hate is a strong word.
Maybe I should "rephrase that..."

I love the idea of winter
Beautiful snowflakes lazily floating down
A blanket of white snow covering the dirt fields
Crisp air that meets my nose when I breathe
Beautiful Sunshine and Blue Skies reflecting off the blanket of snow.
I like that.

But I really hate the blustery days
when the car slips all over the road
and the wind really bites your skin.
When you can hardly walk from your door to the car without freezing.
When cars get stuck

That is what I hate.

Yesterday was one of those days.
But I didn't have to take the bus (thankfully, even though now I know how to open the door!)
(see previous blog)
Yesterday I got driven to work AND picked up by my husband!
But it was a very cold blustery day
The kind where hot chocolate, fireplaces and reading a good book seem to be the order of the day.

Oh well.... we will deal with it
One snowflake at a time...
or should I say, ONE BLUSTERY DAY at a time!

 looking eastward - out of the loft window
 Josh and Leah's long driveway, before it was plowed.

Thursday, November 18

the Countrymouse rides TRANSIT

Today is November 18th and I am almost done my first week of work.  Tomorrow I work another half day, and I will be in a "classroom session" learning the new computer system.  Today I spent 4 hours in reading/computer training on the system, albeit in "self-study" time.  The time went quickly.

I have to tell you about today.  I decided to take the bus.  Okay, you have to remember that since the year I went to MBCI and HAD to take the bus (that was in 1975-76) I have hardly had to take a bus, so today was a little scary!  My daughter Ashley figured out the route for me - actually gave me a couple options.
I got permission to park my vehicle at the church she works at, Rowandale Baptist.  I took a coffee to her, and had a little visit with her first, and then proceeded to catch the first bus. 

Ash suggested I go a little earlier "just in case" ... well, I waited and lo and behold, there came the big bus just a minute or two later than its scheduled time.  At this point, I had been waiting for 10 minutes so I was glad to get on the bus. 

Down Henderson Hwy it went, over the big Disraeli Bridge and onto Main Street... and there was my stop.
Okay... what was the protocol - do I use the front door or the back.  I must have looked completely miffed, but went to the bag after some hesitation.  And well - I didn't know HOW to open the back door!! And the bus started to go .... one block, two blocks, three blocks.  My heart sank.  I was glad I was wearing my runners.

It stopped and the girl behind me told me how to open the back door.  Okay - it didn't take a rocket scientist but I just wasn't smart enough on my own!  I truly felt like a COUNTRY MOUSE on her first day in the BIG CITY!!  So out I went, and in my best "fast walk" I went as fast as I could back the three blocks that the bus had taken me against my will!

Ah, finally - there was WILLIAM... now just had to walk to KING.  OH NO.... is that the bus.  Okay, really I could have likely TRIED to run, but I am really not in good shape, and there was a red light, and then.... there it went, JUST as it was almost within my grasp!.

OH NO!!!  At this point I was ticked.  I was thinking "Man, I should have just driven myself... for Pete's sake, now what!!"  I called Ashley and she just confirmed what I already knew.  The next bus was not for half an hour.  SO.... again, glad I had my runner's on.... off I went! 

Those were VERY VERY long blocks... Main to KING, to PRINCESS - to ISABELLE to SHERBROOK .... and finally Tecumseh! I got there in time for work, and in time to change my shoes, hang my coat and look like I was "together" enough to get to work!  It took me about 20 minutes.  My friend Mary said she could do it in 15 I think she said.  Obviously I didn't walk as fast as her.  Did I mention the big bag of stuff I had to carry!

I kept thinking.... oh you are such a country bumpkin!  Can't even get the back door of the bus open!  I had to laugh really.  But I got there, and got a second walk in for the day. 

At the end of my shift, I was just going to leave, and went down to get my coat only to find that where I put it - it was locked up TIGHT!  So, there I go, looking for security, and wondering if I was going to miss my bus going home!  I got my coat (thanked Joe the security guy) and bundled up - went outside and heard a honk.
And there was my daughter, who had waited for me, after running an errand of her own, and so graciously rescued her mom from another bus ride!

So now - here is the dilemma....
There is no where to park that is cheap.  A day of parking in the parkade costs $10 bucks.  But - the bus costs $5 return (almost) and I think it is going up.  Plus an extra half hour of my time going, and half hour coming.  So is the $5 saving worth the hassle?  Hmmm.... What do you think?

Now I am at home and the bus ride seems a long way off.  It is almost 8 pm.  We had a great supper.  The place is cleaned.  Alvin is reading.  Christmas Jazz music is playing.  I have a cup of coffee by me!
I am glad to be home. The snow is softly falling, but more is on the way.  A famous "Alberta Clipper"...
I am glad to be nestled in the loft, safe, sound, and not riding around on a bus, or walking on William Avenue.  I am thankful for this time. AND... tomorrow is Friday! 


Tuesday, November 16

back to work and completely zonked!

So yesterday I returned to the "working force" and although it was a short day (4 hours) it was good.  I got my security clearance tags, and an email address.  I got briefed on a few things, and saw a HUGE binder of SOP (standard operating procedures) that I need to read through in the next month.  I went home excited about this new opportunity.

Today I went in for 7:45 and shadowed an amazing woman named Lynn at the clinic.  It was a great day - working till 5:15.  But honestly, I am completely zonked!  Couldn't go right home as the house and loft were being "shown" since it is up for sale.  SO I went to the land to wait for Alvin, and then we had an impromtu invitation to our good friends Betty and Willy's for supper.  We are so spoiled!  Good food, good conversation.... amazing friends. 

Now we are home - and my man is fast asleep in the big chair, and I am ready too.  It has been a long day - and I am just not easing into work as easily as I would have 10 years ago.  BUT ... I am so excited about this job, and feel it is God-ordained!  Thank you Lord for the experience.

Also - many of you have encouraged me in this... thanks so much!
love to you all and GOOD-NITE!!

the pillows are calling me!!

Saturday, November 13

my life lately

So, we are home. In fact at this point, we have been home for 4 sleeps in our own bed.  That has been good in itself, however it seemed that we were "off and running" before the wheels of the plane hit the Canadian tarmac. I felt it the morning we landed in Calgary. Hard to explain, but the feeling is so "there" and "tangible". Perhaps I realized that the feelings would resurface after I rejoined "reality" ... I can't help but feel that since summer, life has been turned on its head so to speak. If you are just reading this blog now - without having known what life had been like, I will just recount the last 6 months for your sake. (like you really want to know?)

  • in May we sold our house. We praised the Lord for that. It really did feel like HIS TIMING. (so why am I wondering now if it really was?)
  • July - we worked like a "mad" family - packing, purging, packing more and moving. We praised God for the help of our kids, and our many good and dear friends and sister and brother-in-law who came and worked hard in some high temps! We worked till literally "the eleventh hour" .... we praised God for the help! My biggest and saddest regret as Alvin and I took the last few things in the dark... I had wanted to do two things that never happened. One was to walk one last time in the back - past the altar I had put up to praise God with, and as a memorial to his faithfulness, and TWO was to walk one last time down SPRINGFIELD ROAD where many hours and talks happened as a family and as a couple and as just me! Neither happened. Those are my two regrets. Oh well.
  • August 1 - we moved into the loft at our kids place... and really didn't get a chance to even think through the move (after 27 years in one place, I figure I should have spent some day mourning this move?) and next thing we knew Mom was in the hospital.
  • August 10 - October 13: a bit of a blur. Mom was close to death a few times, and brought around with some aggressive drug intervention. I think by the time I was done with parking meters/passes, the total was a couple hundred in parking alone. I loved loved LOVED being able to spend time with Mom but I know I did not take care of myself during this time. Long days at a bedside... emotionally involved in letting her go (she has been mom to me just a couple years less than my real mom!) My exercise was haphazard at best. My eating was more in line with "comfort food"... you know.... stuff that is usually not the best for you! Coffee was too available!
  • Sept 15 I took a resume in and applied for a part-time job. The closing date was the 16th. I did not hear for a month, and then out of the blue - got a call - come in for an interview! Go figure. Here I had thought God had decided it was not the right timing.
  • October 13th - Mom came home to her place. As we drove home it was like she was seeing things for the first time. Everything seemed new. She was glad to get back home, although we were not sure what her timeline was. It was our desire to allow her to be at home - as long as pain was kept under control.
  • October 19th - had the interview. Was told that if I got the job - would likely hear that Friday (being the 23rd). Friday came and gone.... no word. Guessed I didn't get the job. That was okay... cause I was not sure how long Mom would need care, cause at this point she was still getting around. AND I had a holiday planned with our kids. God knew.
  • October 21st - pain was back - and the extra strength Tylenol was not cutting it. Called the palliative care nurse and began giving mom hydra morphine under the tongue
  • October 22nd - pain was not controlled sufficiently, so Doctor came, changed method of giving her the drug (now we put it into a little port that was placed under her skin. We began this new method, and mom's pain was now managed. However her weakness increased with each day.
  • During the next days, Mom spoke less and slept more. When I prayed with her - she sometimes spoke - one time saying "YES LORD" when I asked "Lord, please take her now." After praying with her I would recite her favorite scripture - Psalm 23. Right up until Monday night - she still said some of the words. She was not fearful - she said this.
  • Monday night - October 25 - after returning to stay for the night, I read from her Bible and read through the Psalms, one by one.... her facial expression and body language from time to time, seemed to acknowledge that she indeed did hear the Word being spoken - and believed it. I was also able to tell Mom that we loved her, that she had been a good Mom, and that she could go, that we would be okay. How hard that was, and yet how important it felt that I needed to do it.
  • Tuesday night - October 26th - as I kissed Mom good-bye and prayed with her... she did not respond. Somehow I had a sense her time was close, as when I said good-nite, I said "BYE MOM" instead of the usual " bye mom - see you in the morning." Elleanore was staying the night since I had stayed the night before.
  • Later that night - actually at about 1:30 am - Elleanore phoned to say that Mom had just died. I wept. I rejoiced. Better for Mom, but so sad for us.

So.... amidst funeral plans, I also had a hair app. I was telling my stylist (who is not a believer of Jesus, but her heart is soft) that so much had happened... about Mom (who she knew) and about the job resume, interview and not hearing. I said to her "Guess it was not the right timing, but God knows all that." Honestly, not even 10 minutes later, as I was being "bagged" (because I had a color done) it was the call saying - that I was being offered the job!! I thanked God.... HIS TIMING. I am to start on the 15th after our trip was done.

YA... on top of this - toss in the trip that we had talked about since winter, and planned for October 31st. What should we do about this? I had told the Lord all about my apprehensions about this - even though our Klassen family was all saying we needed to still go.... I just prayed about Mom - and about God taking her and not letting her suffer... and about HIS timing with all of it. Because Ashley was starting her second new job (working two new part-time jobs) it meant we could not postpone... and my new job... As it worked, Mom passed away on the 27th, and her funeral and burial was on the 30th and we left for our trip as a family, on the 31st. God's TIMING? I think it is all pretty obvious.

Which now brings me to today... that old but family feeling that is back. Something I recognize as old and vaguely familiar! While we were gone - it was so easy to imagine just running away - leaving it all behind - being with your kids together - and with our little grandson. Endless sun... relaxation...not to mention family time... oh, and the buffets! It was amazing but honestly it is not real life right? You can only run away from the over-fullness of life for so long! 

While on holidays, the things of the past are put on hold for your return. And no matter how amazing it was - we were ready to return and face reality again. And believe me - it is a FULL reality... with more things, and more stressors than I will even add here! But that is life right? STRESS is part of life I was told once... but how you manage it - that is the biggie. So I have to figure that out. And really, I do know what I need to know.  (And my conversation with Elizabeth through SKYPE this morning - affirmed it for me, thanks E.)

In the meantime - I will continue to rejoice in what God has given me in the here and now - and thank Him for what He has given me in the past - which includes a strong legacy of faith handed down from my parents and Alvin's parents - and a strong history of faithfulness of God in their lives and our lives. He has also given me a strong body that wakes each morning... and I truly am grateful!  These past few months - okay, past couple years have continued to shape me/break me/stretch me.... but, I am still grateful that God, my God, is in full control. 

I am so weak. But HE (my Jesus)  is so strong. I sing that song to Ev sometimes... "My God is so Big, so strong and so mighty... there's nothing my God can not do!" Gotta take that to heart - especially when life gets to feeling a little overwhelming - because that only tries to rob my peace and my joy!

God - this is your day!  And this, THIS is my life.  Thank-You.

Friday, November 12

it is well with my soul... isn't it?

it is well with my soul
when thoughts swirls
somewhat like the winds around a hurricane
or the whirlwinds that whirl across the dusty fields

it is well with my soul
when tears fill up my eyes to the brim
and slowly make their way down my cheeks
falling silently onto the table below

it is well with my soul
when the elevator stops at the 7th floor
and the long walk down the hall to mom's condo
culminates with me opening the door
to silence
to emptiness

it is well with my soul
even though parents are all gone home now
two Moms
two Dads
present with the Lord
and I...
I am missing them so much.

it IS well
isn't it?

though the sky turns dark
and the wind comes.

though the cold winds blow
and the cold rain will turn to ice pellets.

thought the nights get longer
and the days shorter

my soul.

IT IS...
with MY soul.

O God...
Father to the fatherless (which includes ME)
thank you

It is well with my soul


We are back from a family holiday we had planned.  We left on the heels of Mom's funeral - in fact the next day.  It was rather surreal - as we talked about Grandma and how much she meant to us.  But when you are laying around the pool enjoying the sun, family being there together, and drinking funky monkeys and pina colada's ... somehow the reality of the past few months just did not seem "real".   We are thankful that we were able to take the kids and our little grandson and get away.  It was a gift....

We went to the RIU PALACE in beautiful Los Cabos San Lucas, Mexico.  It was grand!  Leah said that her and Josh talked about imagining how King David's Palace must have been, just by imaging and enjoying the PALACE we were in... can hardly imagine King David's!

Thank you Lord - for the beauty of your creation.  Whenever I think of  heaven somehow I always imagine palm trees, tropical air and the sound of waves!  Thank you for family that we love and laugh with ... and for my little grandson Everett - who brings so much joy into our lives daily!  Thank you Lord. 

Sunday, October 31

Mom ~ Grandma: Deeply Loved ~ Deeply Missed

Yesterday we celebrated Mom's life! As a family we filled the service with beautiful songs, tributes, and a powerful slideshow.

After the lunch, and visiting with friends, we went and laid Mom's body to rest at Glen Eden, beside Dad.

Now - we carry on, with her love remaining in our hearts. I miss her so much already.

Alvin and I and our gang are going on a holiday, one that was planned for a while. At one point, we were not sure how or if we would be able to go, but the Lord took Mom home, we were able to have her funeral, and we are now within hours of leaving.

We are thankful. It will be a good time of family... enjoying our little Everett, and most likely running after him! We are all pretty tired, and look forward to the sun on our skin and sand between our toes. And then we will return and will carry on, missing mom more with each day.

I am including my husbands tribute that he and I did yesterday for Mom....
And, thanks to my sister-in-law Corinna, who prepared this amazing slideshow with her brother's help!.

Mom & Grandma .... we do, call you Blessed!

Alvin’s Tribute – Who was My Mom?

It is interesting to see what happens when a person passes away, and the possessions they own are distributed among the family.

It almost seems as though the person is divided up and taken into many different directions. But then I realized that the possessions do not define the person.

Many little things I see in Mom’s condo remind me of her – and always will. But the things that say WHO Mom WAS are the memories that I have, and will carry with me for the rest of my life!

 I could tell the worst joke, and everyone would groan, but Mom would always laugh like it was the funniest joke in the world. Sometimes that made us laugh in return when we realized that Mom perhaps didn’t get the joke – but wanted to be supportive!

 I could call day or night to ask for something, or if I needed help and Mom would always be there. Having Mom and Dad as neighbors were some of the most wonderful years of our lives. I can’t remember how many times the kids would call to say they would be home a little later, because they stopped at Grandma’s first. When I worked shifts – Joy loved knowing they were just a short walk away.

 Mom could sew on a button while I was wearing the shirt and walking out the door. Somehow she could always fix the pair of pants that Joy was ready to throw in the garbage. She could stack a couple of cords of wood, make enough food to feed an army, wrestle down a wayward calf and have that all done before breakfast!

 Mom always had a listening ear. I could tell her my concerns, my problems, and my fears. BUT then, she also followed up and would ask how I was and if there was anything she could do. Mom always wanted to help. She was also very perceptive.

 Mom and Dad did everything together… and the thing is – they COULD actually do everything. When we lived in Anola together, we realized how much they did together. I always thought that Mom worked too hard. One time I asked her if she ever just wanted to put her feet up and relax… the thing I realized (and which Alvin inherited) is that when the feet finally go up – the eyelids usually close!

 Mom was part of a few house builds… there was our house built in 83, their house build in Anola in 97, and the McIvor Habitat for Humanity house build in 2001. When we built their house in Anola – Mom was the driving force on the job site! She hauled material and kept the cleanest jobsite in the country! Not only that, but she burnt everything that she thought we didn’t need, which meant that when I needed a little piece of off cut to shim something up – there was nothing to be found!

Mom actually burnt more stuff thank you could shake a stick at, she loved making fires. Unfortunately she also singed her eyebrows once or twice when the fire got a little rip roaring.

 Her family was her #1 priority. You didn’t have to schedule in time with her – she was always available. It didn’t matter if you were her original kid, or one that married into the family – we were all considered her children. This often boggled the nurses who thought they had the children all figured out!

 Over the years, Mom could be found in hockey arena’s cheering, at recitals for Mennonite Children’s Choir and at Graduations. I hate to think of how many Christmas concerts mom sat through with all the grandkids, and never once complained that she had heard enough Christmas songs or seen too many Christmas pageants!

 The grandkids knew that she always had time for them. It didn’t matter how old or how young they were – she was very interested in their lives, right up to the end. It was such a wonderful thing to hear Mom pray for her grandchildren. She also made sure that even when she was in the hospital – she wanted to make sure she had treats to keep on hand for them. And it was a special thing to have her own hospital phone – and was very excited to get a phone call from one of her grandkids.

 When Dad passed away – we saw how Mom worked hard to figure out how to live life as a widow. This was such a steep learning curve for Mom, but she never complained. We saw how determined she was to learn and carry on. We also saw how deeply she relied on God for her strength.

 While Mom had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma seven years ago, it stayed relatively quiet until last year, when it involved her kidneys. Mom became a vigilante in the food department – checking labels for sodium, and potassium and other things. She went to classes at the hospital. She enjoyed exercising with the ladies in the Valhalla complex. When she could have been overwhelmed with all the things she had to watch, she never complained. Instead she was dedicated to a new lifestyle – even if she didn’t choose it for herself.

 When Mom went into the hospital, we saw how deep her faith was. We had some precious conversations with Mom over the last three months. She talked about her trust that the Lord knew the days ordained for her. We shared morning devotions together, reading from Scripture, and then from the Daily Bread which had been a long time companion, as far back as I can remember. Mom had full trust that God knew exactly what He was doing and we had a few talks about going Home to Heaven.

 Even when Mom was barely strong enough to get around, she was still concerned about what everyone else was up to. If she heard about a fire, she wanted to know that Josh and I were okay. She knew what we were all up to, and kept amazing track of us. It was quite something to be on the receiving end of that love and care.

 During these last weeks when the weather was so windy – Mom would ask me several times throughout the day as to whether I had heard from the boys and how was the work going. She prayed for them out loud, and hearing this always blessed me.

When I was in pastoral ministry here at McIvor – Mom was one of my greatest prayer supporters. And lately as we have begun the retreat ministry build – Mom wanted to know how things were going, and so I took pictures on a regular basis, loaded them on the computer and brought them to the hospital.

 She was a woman who loved to work behind the scenes – serving God with her talents and her gifts. She also was someone who lived what she believed, and lived FOR the one she believed in – that being Jesus Christ.

 Mom hated to get any credit … she would just want to get the job done, and would often do things silently, and without any fanfare.

 She lived life for the Lord, trusted completely in His timing even if we didn’t understand it. She recalled His faithfulness to her over the years, and thanked God daily for all he had done, and entrusted the future to His care.

 Mom – absent from the body – but present with the Lord – which is far greater. God knew that he had a plan and a purpose for Mom’s life – Mom believed that. We have seen what He has done, and how we have been blessed as a family, and we are forever thankful.

Friday, October 29


It has been a full few days since Mom went HOME...
And as I read through and write stuff for her funeral - I am finding that I am already missing her so terribly much.
The tears are flowing.
With my parents gone,
And now with Alvin's parents gone
We are truly orphans...
And I am so sad.
Last night we gathered for supper - in the common room at Mom's condo.
All were in the room, and yet I realized I was waiting for Mom to come down so we could start.
I know where Mom is...
But I am already missing her so much.
tears fall
washing over sorrow
mixing with love
and falling silently
She is with those she loves - in Heaven
We know that - but miss her so so SO much...
Mom, I love you.
Thanks for being my mom, and my kids grandma, and great - grandma
We love you and miss you

Wednesday, October 27

He called, and took Mom to be with Him

It is late - on Wednesday night. We have spent the evening together. I am tired.... really tired. It has been a very very long haul. However, I would not change a thing. I thank God for the reality that was mine - being unemployed so that I could use my time as a gift to Mom. However - in the end - She was the GIFT to me.

Yesterday morning as I went into the city I petitioned God, on Mom's behalf - to "Please Lord, take her now." I knew God's timing was right - but felt that I needed to be bold in asking. As I left Mom for the past nights since the weekend - I prayed with her, asking the Lord to take her HOME. I recited the 23rd Psalm and John 3:16. On Monday night - I sat by her bed, reading out of the big print Bible - turning through the Psalms. Mom didn't have to say anything - her body language said it all.

As I left yesterday, I felt that it was going to be the last time I saw her alive. And, when I left I kissed her goodbye after praying and said "Bye Mom"...
When Elleanore called me - I wept... but I also prayed and thanked the Lord, as I drove into the condo. It was surreal. I walked into her room, and put my hand on her forehead.

Her soul gone... her very thin frame left behind for us to bury on Saturday. Only her shell. And I couldn't help but imagine Mom in heaven - being greeted by Dad, and Opa, and my parents, and my little grandson... finally Mom gets to hug her firstborn Great-Grandson. I can only imagine!

So. ... her journey on this side of heaven is done - and life for her has really just begun. She has a new body - a heavenly one. Cancer free!! Eyesight that is 20/20 - gazing on the Lord in all his Glory!

I say thank you Lord.... thank you.
You have heard and answered our prayers.
Thank you.

Absent from the body but present with the Lord - which is FAR better.

I need to get some sleep.... tomorrow is a full day.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Tuesday, October 26

The Lord IS my shepherd!

Mom has a favorite scripture - and it is Psalm 23.
I know that because quite a few weeks ago, her and I talked one day at the hospital. Mom told me that the other favorite scripture was John 3:16 which is the "gospel in a nutshell" as it used to be called.

I have read and also recited the scriptures to her often. Last night she mouthed the words along with me - and at verse 4 she said out loud "I am not afraid!"

Tonight I talked with her - she didn't open her eyes much today. But I talked, and joked a bit with her... and then told her I was going to pray with her - and I also recited her favorite psalm.
At the part where it said "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" - Mom got a big smile on her face.

I had to go out for a while - so Ruth came to spend the evening with mom, and Ash too. I got back and Ruth went home. Now it was time for "just mom and I" time. First I gave her her med through her little "port" in her arm, and then I sat down by the side of her bed, took her hand with my right hand, and with the left I turned the pages of the Word. I began reading through psalm after psalm.

I read Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)

A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

and later finished with John 3:16 (New Living Translation)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

I sat there for a little while and then left. It is late - almost 1 am. Her next needle is at 4 unless she has breakthrough pain. So I should go to bed....

Maybe tonight Mom will see Jesus.... then again, it is all up to HIM.
In His time....
Regardless, she is ready!

Sunday, October 24


today is Sunday
morning started early, with a hot bath and coffee
and a trip to Mom's to take over the shift from Neil

Mom is quiet
Pain is obviously under control
She still opens her eyes when we say hi
And when she saw Alvin, she smiled big.

Steve Bell has a beautiful CD that he did for his friend who was dying
That is playing softly

Elleanore is flying in today
Mom will be glad to see her
Actually we are all really glad she is coming here again

The nurse has been helpful
And stressed to us, the importance of "self-care"
Which, is easier said than done - for me anyhow...
but so important
as how can we care - if we don't take care of ourselves.

The condo is quiet - except for the music
My thoughts are quieting in my soul too
Tears come quickly and easily
As I realize I am having to say good bye to someone who has been Mom
to me almost as long as my mom had been...

The window is slightly open
And I hear the calling of the Blue Jay.
God has used that as a "kiss" to me before
And today, the cawing - brings comfort to me once again.

Soon, Mom will get to meet her firstborn Grandson Jay...
And she will see Dad... and Omi (her mom) and Opa (her step dad)
and...... after 73 years, will finally be reunited with HER dad... whom she had to say good-bye to one night when she was 6, and he was taken away and killed...

Absent from the body - present with the Lord - which is FAR GREATER...
Lord Jesus - this is what we desire for her
even though for us - it is so so sad to say good-bye, even just till we meet again.

I continue to pray -
Please God... take her now...
Please Lord.

Saturday, October 23

please pray

I have decided to do a prayer request via this blog.... because I know some of you know mom well... and many of you know me well.... and many of you pray!
Thank you so much.

I am asking you to pray for my Mom (in-law) who now has pain. Multiple Myeloma is painful. We were very thankful that she didn't have any for a little while. However now she does. Two days ago we changed to a drug administered under the tongue. But last evening we changed and are now administering the same drug through a little needle port that is under the skin.

This method seems to be working.
I was pretty nervous at first, although the nurse said "you'll do well - you are so relaxed."

It has been a long day - and a long night.
The baby monitor I placed by her bed picks up every little noise and whisper.

Yesterday mom was perked up when Leah and Everett came for a visit. But as I engage with her now - even the perkiness she had then, seems a long way away.

Today is Saturday.... I am asking God to please God, just take her.
Mom is so ready to go HOME. SO ready.
I know that we don't understand the thoughts or the mind of Christ, and it is in times like this when you see someone you love deteriorate, I (and I know I am not the only one) just really wonders WHY GOD... why not just take her now.

But God knows.
The first breath and the last breath.
He knows.

O Lord, have mercy.

oh yes, in the midst of all of this - the boys are pouring the walls of the basement today. Please pray that will all go well - and without incident! In the midst of pain with losing mom.... is the joy of seeing God fulfill His vision for women... sorrow and joy always seem to co-exist. Or at least that has been our experience.
Thanks for praying for the boys too!

Wednesday, October 20

Pouring it on.....

Saturday morning - as I turned heading toward Henderson, I could see the Barn and the pump from miles away.... this picture is actually zoomed in
The concrete is pumped from the cement truck into the pump truck and then wherever it is needed.
The guys are busy doing last minute prep before the "pour" begins.

So - the team for the morning was Alvin, Josh, Michael Thiessen (son in law), Elmer Thiessen and Mike Frank (who I tease about adopting him)
Looks almost like half of a McDonald's Golden Arches!

prep work...

cement truck and pumper

this guy wore the controls to the pumping arm, around his waist

Josh waiting for the pumping arm to come down

and.... out it comes!

as sappy as it sounds - you have to know that my heart was skipping a beat as I watched!
the house has begun!

waiting for truck #2 to arrive
unfortunately there was a little too much "waiting" time between trucks
so what we saved on the cement -
we paid for in pumping time since he sat there and waited before and in between trucks.

all hands on deck!

Michael (son-in-law) and his Dad worked at leveling it

sun shining over the piles of mud!

many geese flew past that morning!

Blue Sky - nothing but blue sky do I see!!

Second of 3 trucks...

getting in those corners!

Corner number 3

my son has worked the knees out of his jeans by the looks of things!

cleaning off the tools...

the footing is D-O-N-E!!
Following this we gave the pump driver our address for the bill!
And next thing we knew Betty and Willy were in the driveway with muffins/fruit and coffee.
After a coffee break, we then all went to the corner for a breakfast/lunch.
The boys worked hard from 8 - 11 am....
This part of the job was done.
Lord, thank you....