Monday, February 22

Celebrating with my Birthday Boy!

The very best gift of all for Poppa's birthday was getting to cuddle Everett when they came our to Anola, for our family birthday supper together.
As you can tell, Everett is quite the little sweetheart! Poppa got to hold him first,
and actually at the end of the evening, Poppa and Everett were both snoozing side by side on the rug. We thank God for such a special gift for us to celebrate!
Saturday night we went to Lazy Tuesdays at Seddon's Corner (east of Beausejour). Willy and Betty had told us about it, so of course we wanted to go and taste for ourselves. Willy, Betty, Kim and Kevin joined us for the celebration, and then we came back for cake and coffee at our house. Note the candles on the cake - NO he did not blow them over - Betty just made them all slanted for fun! We enjoyed good food, good fellowship and many laughs!

On the morning of Alvin's birthday - I took him to Pineridge Hollow for breakfast! It was a great time to just sit and enjoy the ambiance of this wonderful place! I don't often get Alvin to PH - usually find myself there with my "girl" friends, so this was as special time! As he is getting older, I think my man is just getting more and more handsome (but once again, I am biased, but it is my blog!)

So Alvin's birthday has come and gone for another year - he did not blow out 52 candles, but he did blow out some, and ate lots of cake! I think back to the first cake I made for him. I was living in "the white house" which was a house that the MB Bible College owned. Josie and I were allowed to rent and live in the "white house" (which has since been torn down and replaced with MBCI's RED GYM). Anyhow - living in the whitehouse for our grade 11 year was alot of fun. In the basement we had the full basement, which always served as a great meeting room, studying room, watching those early CANADA/RUSSIA hockey games, etc. Often many of our classmates could be found in the basement hanging out. That is also where our kitchen space was. That first birthday I made Alvin a cake - a chocolate one. Thing is - well, who knew the rack in the oven was not in correct - so when the cake came out - it was high on one side and very thin on the other. Nothing a little icing can't fix. Okay - a LOT of icing on one side! I didn't live that one down, although I do remember it being eaten up!

This birthday we celebrated with a Mango Angel Food cake (my own recipe concoction) and a Grasshopper Dessert (which has become a fam favorite) and yesterday it was the family traditional COFFEE TORTE made by non other than my mom in law! I have made a few of these myself, but mom always seems to have one sitting idly by in her freezer, and just needs the gallon of whipping cream to put it together!

Alvin and I have celebrated his birthday since 1975. That means this is the 36th birthday cake!! And we are only 52 (well I am not quite, but getting there!) So you do the math!! We have been in love since we were 16! That is alot of loving!! And, the best part is that there is even more to come!

It was a fun filled, friend filled, family filled, cake filled, present filled weekend! It was wonderful to end the weekend with our family around the supper table. We haven't regularly "held hands" as we say grace - it just never was something we did. However - last night, we held hands around the circle and I got to say grace and "bless my husband" and suggested that the hand holding would become our new tradition!

I have to say we got to hold our little Everett alot! And we also got to watch him smile alot! It is so much fun as he is noticing alot. He is also doing this little laugh, and is beginning to "talk" especially after he has been fed and changed! I love watching his auntie Ashley snapping pictures! I have to say that the picture of him at the beginning was captured by moi! Looks like he is saying hello!!

As Ashley and Michael, Josh and Leah, Grandma and I sat and watched Olympics - the birthday boy was in the other room laying on the floor with Everett . Ash said, "was there other things Dad wanted to do tonight - play a game or do Kareoke?" I think Josh said something like "I think Dad is doing what he really wanted to do." And I said yes, waiting to snuggle his little grandson was top of his Birthday wishes list. As Ash and Michael and Grandma were getting ready to go - we all peeked into the quiet room. There was Alvin (Poppa) laying on his tummy and his little Grandson laying beside him on his back! Quite the little pair! We could only smile.

Looked like the birthday boy had gotten his wish!

Happy Birthday to the love of my life - a gift from God - a man who knows no limits when it comes to "being there" for his kids, for me, or actually anyone for that matter.

Happy Birthday to a man who is the jack of all trades, and truly a master of them all!

Happy Birthday to my man - who is a friend to all!

Happy Birthday to a man who is one of the most hardworking honest men I know - and who loves to help others - and often serves others with his time and talents and gifting. Helping others brings Alvin joy.

Happy Birthday to a man who can do laps in the dining room, kicking up his heels, sings to whatever music is on the radio, laughs till he can hardly speak, beams when he watches his family, and just truly loves life!

Happy Birthday to my man - my husband Alvin. A man who love the Lord with all his heart! And, who believes that it is more important to be a witness for Jesus through his actions and the way he can serve others. A man who loves his job - regardless of whether it is fighting a fire, or picking up someone who is intoxicated and laying on the street. He truly truly loves his job, AND each person that he works with, and among.

Happy Birthday dear sweetheart! I hope there are many more birthday cakes - many more celebrations to come! I love you!

Thursday, February 18

when the cat's away ~ the mice will play. (NO!)

So here is my dilemma..... I (aka "the country mouse") am "cat-less" and that is my dilemma. (you would think that being cat less would not be a dilemma for a real mouse!!)

Let me tell you the story of our family, and our cats.

First there was the orange kitten that Josh picked out from our neighbor. They had rescued a pregnant stray cat - and now had a litter to give away. Josh named his new kitten GINGER. He was very love able. He liked to step up onto your lap - put a foot onto your chest and stand up and look into your eyes. Never have seen another cat do this the way he did. Unfortunately when we were dog-sitting for a friend - their dog chased Ginger up a tree and well - Ginger didn't come back to stay after that. A couple years later, our neighbor Bob asked Josh to come and feed his cat while they were away. Josh went over and came back and told me to come with him - he said he thought Bob had our GINGER. I went over - and while Josh was getting his food and water - here came this HUGE ginger tomcat - and he came to my lap - put his foot on my chest and looked me right in the eyes. When Josh told Bob that he thought Ginger was our old cat - Bob said he had been taking care of him for years. We left it at that - convinced he was originally ours, and glad Bob was taking good care of him.

Our next cat was Ashley's and I think we called her Pudder. I remember Alvin calling him BOOTS. (Alvin who is the king of nicknames - has many names for each animal) but this cat was black with white "boots" or paws. We actually got Pudder from the pet store in the mall in Steinbach. The deal was "free kitten" with each purchase of litter! They knew how to get rid of some farm cats! So, we brought one home. Originally Pudder was an indoor cat. I will never forget the Christmas that my brother and sister-in-law came out with their new little dog Dexter - just slightly over a pound. Well - the cat came out - Dexter went after her. She swiped Dexter and sent him yelping with blood drawn on his little face. Meanwhile she came out into the kitchen and was "growling" and had puffed up twice her size. It was so scary! Shortly after Pudder became an outdoor cat too.

Our next cat - was Vanilla. Or "Banilla" as my little nephew Nicholas used to call her. She was the cat that we called "the engagement cat" as Josh gave her to Leah the same night he proposed. Unfortunately, she could not go home with Leah since her mom had an allergy (or perhaps Josh just wanted to keep her here). Vanilla became quite the mother over the next few years - pumping out one litter after another. Yes, we were not responsible pet owners I know. However - what is the purpose of a farm cat? (no excuse, sorry). Eventually Leah did make an appointment, took her in to get spayed. After that she seemed to really grow big. She also became quite cantankerous, and often bit/scratched if you tried petting her. But - she definitely earned her keep as she was the best mouser I have ever seen!

Just before Vanilla got "fixed" she had a litter of kittens. Josh and Leah fell in love with one of her kittens - a nice little grey mix one - and named her Mimi and took her home to live with them. Mimi was a very sweet little kitten. She was friendly. Loved to be held, carried and became a very good indoor kitten for them in their loft.

However, Mimi had a very unfortunate accident when the neighbor boy accidentally hit her...
After nursing Mimi back to health - they are pretty sure she met her match with a coyote, and lost. All Josh knows is that he saw the coyote in his back yard, and never saw the kitten again. That was very sad. But then came Louis... a cat like no other we have ever seen. Yes, unfortunately for Leah, and later for Ashley, and Alvin (all who had some nice articles of clothing eaten) ... when Josh and Leah took the cat from previous owners - they didn't tell them that Louis had an addiction. He loved laundry. Not just nestling in it - or smelling clean laundry. No - he actually ATE clothing. Sometimes he just ate strategically placed holes out of women's tops... he also ate one of Alvin's new shirts (ate it completely except for the tag!) Honestly, I have never seen another animal like him (except for the story my sister in law told me about her friends dog who ate their little girls ballet tutu and had to have it surgically removed!). Louis had no surgery. But he was brought out to the farm. OUR farm. And became an outside farm cat, alongside of Vanilla.

There were some good fights at first, as Louis (the tom) established control... but not without a fight. Alvin said there was white and black tufts of fur everywhere over those first few days. But they figured it out, and became friends. Vanilla was the mouser. Louis... I called him KING LOUIS as he usually laid on the deck like he was King, and honestly, I don't know if he moused or not. I actually think he was the lazy one of the two! While Vanilla hated being held and petted... Louis loved it.

They also got along really well with Oreo, which was such a bonus. When we went on walks - it was like "the incredible journey" with the dog and the two cats following us - meowing as they came along.

Well - Vanilla went missing in action about a week before Christmas. We are not sure what happened to her. We miss her a lot. And Louis, met his fate the first week of January. I am still actually quite sad about that. The thing is... "when the cat's away... the mice will play" and well - that is the thought behind this blog. Because they are definitely playing!

The cats (or at least Vanilla for sure) kept the mouse population AND the squirrel and chipmunk population down to a Minimum! It was kind of weird and gross, but almost every day in summer, I would come home to find chipmunk or squirrel "heads and tails" at the back door - like a trophy.. lying there to greet me. Sometimes numerous heads and tails were deposited there. We have not had to catch a mouse in our house for years!! And THAT suited me real well. Because even though I call myself "the country mouse" - I actually hate mice in my house!!

Well yesterday Alvin noticed little mouse tracks in the snow on the front deck . Not good.

Then last night - at about 10 pm I decided to go and put wood in the boiler. I walked to the back door. It was dark, and I heard the dog munching his dog food. But then again... no... he was fast asleep. Okay. Something was munching in the old half eaten bag of cat food at the back door. Something that also had a little squEAK to it. It was a pretty tall bag - and I could hear it trying to climb out...

A quick call to Alvin - basically for moral support and encouragement since he was at work - and he told me to knock the bag (the mouse would fall to the bottom) and then double it up and take it out. Simple. (ya, right) I could be brave. I knocked the bag. Quickly doubled it up. Put it in a garbage bag, tied it and carried it out to the boiler. I know, I know... not humane. Alvin actually was shocked that I threw the cat food in the boiler. (And what was I supposed to do with this thing?)

So ... here is the dilemma. I have sticky traps all over the house. Not that I think there are any more - but 1) we don't have any cats around outside 2) we saw tracks in the snow and 3) if one got in - there may be more. (have I told you how much I hate mice?)

Josh and Leah have a new cat ~ Georgia (got her in October of 08)
Ashley and Michael have two new kittens ~ Chips and Chandler (got them in Dec 09)

Alvin has a birthday on Saturday... hmmm... wonder what he would like as a gift - personally, I am thinking perhaps he wants a new cat. Maybe a nice ginger colored one - kitten? adult? not sure... whether it is a kitten, or a mature cat doesn't really matter as long as it loves mice as much as I hate them!

Time will tell!

Wednesday, February 17

a part of us... simply amazing!

just can't get enough of our little Everett!!
Cute, Cute, CUTE as a button!!
this was Joshua's first "formal" picture taken at 3 months, courtesy of K-Mart!
Note the little outfit which was very cute THEN... but today...
okay, you won't find this style in Baby Gap!!
Tomorrow, Feb. 18th, our little one ~ little Everett John ~ is two months old.
Now about 5 lbs heavier and 3 inches longer...I can hardly believe where time has gone.

The other day when I was there ~ I was looking at him while he slept so soundly. His little ears. Little nose. Little lips. His little chin (with his Poppa's little dimple in it) and his little fingers.
And it made me think of what our little Everett would do in his life - with those hands...
I think I made the comment to Leah that one day he would bring her a little drawing he had done just for mommy!!
I remember alot of the things that Josh and Ashley's little hands did when they were small. A mom remembers those things. The things that seem perhaps "insignificant" to an ordinary onlooker - is HUGE in a mother's heart! Like the little dandelion bouquet picked by little fingers... or the first little stick people drawn in crayon...or the little cookies that were shaped by the little fingers on the first baking time!
As I was looking at the pictures that Ashley downloaded to Facebook, I was taken aback again at how much little Everett reminds me of Josh. And today, as Alvin and I were talking about our little grandson (actually unabashedly "gushing" about him) it dawned on me - that he has little bits of me, and Alvin passed on to him through Josh, and the same with his other Grandma and Grandpa. It almost takes my breath away - to think of how this little guy is truly "fearfully and wonderfully made" and so very precious in the eyes of our Creator - God Himself. This little one - like his big brother Jay Benjamin ... is a part of us. So unbelievable. So amazing. Thank you God for the gift you give us in children and grandchildren.

Psalm 139 (New International Version) verses 13 & 14
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Tuesday, February 16

little SURPRISES along the way (coffee and conversations continue...)

It's just like God.... to surPrise us when we least expect. Things in life that happen way better than if we had tried to make them work. Like today. I got to have a short (45 min) visit (over Pepsi for him, and diet Pepsi for me) in the mall foodcourt. I had gone to get a shower gift - and was just going to leave when I realized the man coming toward me was my brother B. I have thought so often about him, and chatted on the phone with him, but this was an unexpected visit in an unexpected place. It was good.

My brother is 1.5 years my junior. I am very proud of my brother. He is working hard at overcoming some strongholds in his life. As he said today, he is seeing with much clearer eyes. It is a joy to talk with him. It is encouraging to hear how he is trusting God for each step. Sometimes when I have struggled with my "food plan" (weight being my stronghold) I have often thought of him. Is it easy for my brother. Not in your life. Sometimes seeing clearly brings many emotions to the forefront that before one could just choose not to think of. I have listened to him over the past 7.5 months or so - and have seen how he has come to depend on the Lord in a new and exciting way. I have seen how the Lord of his youth, has truly become HIS Lord...
It is exciting. I thank God for B. and for what the Lord is doing in His life... one day at a time.
And, today, I thank God for the unexpected meeting in the mall, and a talk over a pepsi, and the chance to drive him to work.

This morning, I had a "planned" coffee time with my young friend Amber. It was a good visit - and I love hearing what God is doing in her life. This young woman has a heart after God's own. I have watched her grow up in our church... and thank God for the way she pours into the lives of others - specifically children in the north end of the city. She is going to become a social worker - and I once told her that she had exactly what was needed... a heart for people. I am convinced she is going to make such an amazing social worker, but no doubt her heart will break often for children. It was so good to visit with her for 2.5 hours over a Chai Latte (I know, not a coffee!! The girl here at Mountain Bean could not believe I wasn't having my "normal" and raised her eyebrows!!)

Now I am back at Mountain Bean - and waiting to have coffee with Meggie, who I worked with at the church. She is off work at 4 so I have a few minutes to complete this post and put my computer away. And yes, this time I am having a big mug of black coffee!! This is another impromptu coffee surprise! A quick one before I go get my man at the firehall.

So - today - God has given me little surprises along the way - some planned, some unplanned. Some in a coffee shop and some in unexpected places. Today I am thankful for the blue sky - the sun that is shining. I am thankful for the work-out I had at Curves, for the chai tea latte, for the gift of family, for the gift of siblings who are teaching me life lessons through their lives, for the gift of coffee visits with old co-workers, for the gift today of LESS PAIN!! My FMS has been much better these last couple days and I am so thankful!

God thank you for unexpected surprises in my day. For good conversations. Thank you for young friends, and for old friends. Thank you for this day, which smells like spring!! For teaching me through others, that you care so much about our lives. God, thank you for today.

Monday, February 15

good conversations and cups of coffee

these photos were all taken from our surprise Valentine's date, which was planned by our husbands under the leadership of Kevin Hampton (who unfortunately I only have him in the background on one picture) and was at Kim and Kevin's house - we had a gourmet meal cooked and served by Chef Rob, wine, roses, coffee, great music, amazing food, some chocolate, hot tubbing, and a whole lot of great conversation! We were so surprised and delighted! Our men are romantics!

coffee + friends = wonderful conversations from the heart

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

oh coffee ! Sometimes I wonder what life would be like without the mug of fresh, strong black coffee!!

Over several cups of coffee this past week - I have enjoyed several conversations! Going back to last week - I have enjoyed some good coffee with my kids (oh man, I love my kids); I actually got in a cup of coffee while over for a snuggle & cuddle visit with my little grandson too; enjoyed an extra large Tim Horton's coffee with Meggie; I had an extra large Tim Horton's with Mary; a cup of coffee with Ann at her apartment after a great supper out together; several cups of coffee with Frank and Karis when they were out for supper Thursday; coffee with Brenda over lunch at Grace Cafe; several cups of coffee with John and Ruth when they were out for supper Friday; coffee with Kev, Kim, Lloyd, Judy, Betty, Willy, Alvin and I over our Saturday night surprise Valentine's; a cup of coffee during a presentation in the Adult SS class yesterday; a cup of coffee at my neice Sarah's birthday party with our Klassen side of the fam; and a couple cups of coffee here last night with Willy and Betty. Tomorrow I will begin the day with coffee at Mountain Bean with Amber, and well, in between, Alvin and I have enjoyed a few pots of fresh coffee.

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass
threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thing is, while I just simply ENJOY coffee - the truth of the matter is - so many wonderful conversations happen over cups of coffee or tea or whatever (some of my friends drink hot water). Coffee and Conversations just simply "go together".

This past week we have talked with others about things that really "matter" at a heart level. I have come to realize that not everyone in my life wants to go deep like that. There has to be a trUst level. I have come to understand that not everyone really really wants to hear what you say. For some, it is a matter of feeling uncomfortable with the truth, or feeling uncomfortable with honest words. For some it is a matter of being afraid of not knowing what to do with the conversation or authenticity. Why is it that so many people feel that they always have to SAY something. Honestly, there are times when keeping your mouth shut, and just hugging the person, is the best response. I have come to understand that body language is HUGE when someone is sharing with you.... as well, it is huge when you are the one sharing and observing the other who is listening. I have come to understand that you have to pick and choose who you want to be open and honest with. Not everyone cares. And not everyone actually "hears" what you are saying. That has been a big eye opener for me. For some - it is easier "not to go there" as they won't have to be uncomfortable. No ones actually LIKES being uncomfortable - but life just isn't always easy is it?

"Friendship that flows from the heart cannot be frozen by adversity, as the
water that flows from the spring cannot congeal in winter." - James Fenimore Cooper

This past week - we have talked about family... about our grandson Everett...about church.
We have heard hearts break over family relationships... and hope for restoration of family. I have heard about considerable loss in the people around me...from jobs to relationships. I have had conversation that included much laughter interspersed with serious discussion. We have talked about what "church" looks like now compared to what Jesus wanted the "church" to look like. We have agreed that we don't think Jesus likes what "church" has been made into...especially the church politics that mEss up things. We talked about topics such as "emerging church" and "forgiveness"... we have talked & talked & talked some more. In some cases - talking for hours, with coffee cups in our hand. Perhaps I drink too much coffee (although I often find several cups unfinished... )

I am thankful that there are people in my life who consider Alvin and I (both alone and as a couple) to be a "safe" couple to talk to. I am thankful that these people are those we consider safe as well - and can share openly and honestly. We value the relationships and trust we have. God has given us many good friends. As Alvin and I reflected yesterday, over and above the friendships we shared this past week - there are several others who we consider gifts from God. (If you guys are reading this - I think you know who you are!)

Good communication is as stimulating as
black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after."

-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Tuesday, February 9

a few gems that caught my attention today...

Today I spent a good chunk of time doing some "catch up" reading in my Daily Bible (The Message translation). It was good. However - as normal for me and my resolve to read through the Bible in a year - I have fallen behind. Anyhow - today I read a chunk of scripture, and wow - it is amazing what "sparkles and catches your eye" ~ often the same scripture that you have read over and over before, and well - all of a sudden God uses it to speak VOLUMES!!

Let me share a bit of the "gems" that caught my attention and spoke into my heart in a new way today. The Daily Message began in Genesis and included a Psalm. I have now gone into Mark as of today, and still the Psalms. I love the Psalms - but Petersen, he just really writes it to speak today. ANYHOW - back to the gems from today.

Gem #1: Mark 8: 34-36 ~ he (Jesus) said "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?"

(big breath ! WOW) I was thinking a lot over that scripture. I realize over and over again that I have to let HIM lead. Hmmm.... let him lead. I sure want to, but so often I keep taking over. It reminds me of when Alvin and I try to dance! I am not sure which one of us is trying to lead... all I know is we laugh and have fun and sometimes wonder why we aren't moving much! (or stepping on one another's toes!) Jesus tells me - Joy - you are NOT in the driver's seat... I am!! I really want to learn how to follow. Learn how to embrace suffering. (oh boy, that was another hard statement) How often do I complain about how I am feeling? (just some fibromyalgia pain gets me down often!) LORD, make me willing to learn!!

I was reminded of my mom when I was thinking about this. In 1994, my mom ended up in the hospital for a long time - and we watched her go downhill very quickly. Her discs were crumbling in her spine, and overnight it seemed, we watched her in a hunched over state. Her eyesight which was bad, went to the point where she was only able to see shadows. We put a note at the head of her hospital bed, so that people would know she was blind. Everything was out of whack in her body - the pain was unbelievable. She was throwing up constantly from the morphine and the codeine. One day I was heading up, and just wondering how much more Mom could take. I walked into her room, hugged her, and as usual, Mom was in such a wonderful mood. Everyone that worked on mom loved her! The nurses all thought the world of her. They would be picking and prodding and trying to take blood from veins that were just protesting, so they would apologize at how they just couldn't seem to get blood, and keep trying. Mom would thank them for being so good to her. She would reassure them that she was just fine.

So that morning, I remember specifically - walking in, and seeing mom before she could know I was there. I wondered if she was just tired of living like that. And - I asked her the same. She said, "Oh no dear, I have so much to be thankful for!" I learned a lot from my mom... more than I ever told her. So often over the past 14 (almost) years - I have wished my mom was here to talk to. And these days - even more so. I have never met another woman quite like my mom!

Gem #2: Mark 10: 22-26 This is the portion about asking. It is also the portion on forgiving. In my journal I did write: "Oh, Lord, how do I forgive fully? Lord, please show me."

I have struggled with a big issue. Last April, actually on Good Friday - I spent time speaking with the Lord about forgiving some people whom I felt had hurt me. I had actually been wrestling with this - and I guess wrestling with God on it. I remember that morning - when I finally felt like I forgave. Since then - I am wondering.... have I? Can you forgive if the other person never acknowledges anything you think they have done? And lately - have I honestly forgiven if the thing keeps "rearing its ugly head?" Usually when that happens, I try to "give it back to the Lord" over and over and over again. (that was also part of the reason why I erected an altar in our back acreage, giving it all to God. So, today's scripture spoke to me again.

Gem#3: Mark 12: 41-44

This is the story about the widow who gives her 2 coins. Or as Petersen puts it in this scripture - "a measly two cents" .... and then the Message says "all the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford. She gave her all!"
We - are rich aren't we. We have "pocket money"...
I was so moved the other day by a little thing in the Winnipeg Free Press. I forget what section it was in - I think under the new little section that talks about "random acts of kindness". The person who wrote in said they were at one of the missions the other day, and the meal was being served, and the t.v. was on, about the disaster in Haiti. The person said that a hat was passed among the clients there for the meal, and together, they gave about $70. It moved me. $70 out of the pockets of the poor and homeless clientele, who have to go and eat in soup kitchens to survive daily. They gave what they couldn't afford!! They gave their all. If that doesn't move you to give - I honestly don't know what will. (by the way, the government is still matching dollar for dollar - in Haiti relief money - PLEASE GIVE SOMEWHERE!)

There were two things that I just thought of from my kid's lives - when they were teenagers. Joshua had gotten a down jacket from his aunt for his birthday. He came home one night - "jacket less" and told me that he had bumped into a guy outside of Walmart - begging and coat less. Josh without hesitation gave him his coat, and some money that he had in his pocket.

Ashley went after grade 12 graduation, into the OUTTATOWN program at CMU. Part of the time they spent in Vancouver and had to spend time on the street, living like a street person. It was not a huge amount of time - but sufficient time to speak into her heart - and affect her. She later went and served in Guatemala with the program. I also had the joy of serving with Alvin, and Josh, Leah and Ashley in the Dominican Republic. They were responsible for building the septic tank and were literally down in a hole all day! We also had the joy of helping to support Michael when he was in high school and off to Mexico to do mission work.
I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed us as a family with opportunities to be able to serve him with our finances, our gifts, our talents, and our time. My prayer is that God will continue to give us opportunity... and willingness to give our best (whatever that is at the time) for HIM. Oh Lord, let us all give a "cup of cold water in your name." We are talking about doing some mission work again next year - in the winter. We are praying about that... and excited to see what God does.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So - those were the gems that caught my attention today from the Gospel of Mark. I thank God that He continues to speak into my heart - and into yours!! All he wants is for us to ask Him to illuminate the pages of His word - and to open our eyes and our minds to understanding His truth to us. Enjoy your Bible today.... it truly is our handbook for life! Share some of YOUR gems with me!!

Monday, February 8

what FAITH can do

There are two songs that I have heard over and over and over again. They have spoken into my dry broken heart alot. And now, even though God has brought joy to us again... this song still speaks to my heart. It is by the band KUTLESS and called What Faith Can Do.

The song - it just feels like it is honest ... I like that. Honesty. Transparency. Of course that makes you vulnerable. Sometimes that hurts. Sometimes honestly bites you in the butt. Personally, I believe it is the only way to go. "Honesty is the best policy" as the old quote goes. (I can just hear my mom saying that! Oh Mom, I miss you so much!)

Rising from the ashes and making a new beginning. Got that one. Totally get it.
Finding the strength to rise. In my weakness, HE makes me strong. Only God!!

"I've seen dreams that move the mountains. HOPE that doesn't ever end. Miracles just happen." Actually there are times when I knew God could perform a miracle and well - he chose not to. Or should I clarify - He chose to do not what I thought was best for me or us - but what HE KNEW was best for us. That was His right. That was His decision! I will be totally honest that since we lost our little Jay that day... I have had to work through (although not through yet) exactly WHY God chooses to do one miracle, but not the next? but still - I BELIEVE GOD IS SOVEREIGN! Therefore - I may wonder why - but the bottom line is GOD IS GOD!

The other day I was at Josh and Leah's church - Assiniboia Community Church - and listed to Pastor Larmour speak. I loved the story he used of the two men at a youth gathering. One got up to talk about how he was on his way - and out of gas and he prayed and asked the Lord to perform a miracle - and put gas in the car - and well - he turned the key and voila! it started!! God answered that prayer. It was a miracle. And then an older man, whom Pastor Larmour said was a wise and Godly man - this man stood up at the same gathering, right after the younger man had shared about his miracle - and this older man shared that he had a similar experience. He also was out of gas. He also prayed and asked God for a miracle. He also waited - but God did not "put gas in the car" so to speak. Hmm.... how to explain it? Well - God is God and HE is Sovereign. He chooses to do as He wills. Of course - we don't get it.... which makes sense, because we don't always "get" what God is doing. I always thought that "when I get to heaven, I will ask God some of these questions." But now I figure - that when I am home in heaven - I won't be worrying about the answers anymore!!

Those are my 2 cents for now. I am tired. My sweetheart is already snoring in the chair beside me. Gotta head up to bed. It is only after 10 but it has been a full day.

I leave you with the lyrics from Kutless: What Faith Can Do.
Hope they also speak to you.

~What Faith Can Do ~

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think its more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell you that you can!

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

P.S. Of course - I could not do a thing without my Lord. Jesus Christ - the same yesterday, today and forever!! You are Sovereign. You are GOD!

Sunday, February 7

3 cups of black coffee and my Bible!

So it is Sunday morning. I came in with my man today - as it is snowing/blowing, and we need to be in tonight together. This way I am in safely, and don't have to drive the bad country roads. However, the downside is that I have the whole day to "while away" until I pick him up after his day shift. I dropped him off shortly after 7 am, and moseyed over to my fav coffee shop - yes, you guessed it - Mountain Bean. (contrary to belief - I am not here very often any more! BUT this was the place where all my meetings took place (or many of them) when I was working in paid ministry).

At this point - I am into my third big mug of medium roast - and enjoying it. Yes, too much coffee - but today is an exception. Most of the mugs are getting drank in completion, whereas at home, often they get left in various places around the house half drank. Such is my life at times! Drinking luke warm coffee is the best - and it comes from working years in childcare!

I came into the coffeeshop early this morning - with my Bible, my journal, my workbook for the Beth Moore Study (I am behind AGAIN!) and with my computer. At one point I pondered going to church somewhere - but have now decided to spend this sweet time with the Lord, over all this coffee. And, even though the music is playing in the background - and the place was full of people (especially when the church crowd came in) it is still a sweet sweet place to meet with the Lord. Not "conventional" but sweet. I love it.

So, as I worked on some of my study - the Lord impressed several things on my heart and mind. I want to share these with you, if you care to read them.

I am parked mostly in Exodus, but Beth Moore has taken me from Exodus ~ to Deuteronomy ~ to Numbers ~ to Job ~ to Matthew ~ to I and II Corinthians ~ to Hebrews ~ to I Peter and to Revelation - all within the last two hours - and 2 "days" worth of the study. If you have never studied under Beth Moore's teaching - oh I encourage you too. She is definitely a woman who knows the WORD!!

We are studying the tabernacle - actually just getting into some of the plans that God gave to Moses. Imagine being in the Lord's Presence - seeing His Glory. Oh my goodness - I can not imagine how my heart would race!

These sessions were on what the Israelites were supposed to bring as offerings - the gold, the silver - the fine linen - the goatskin - acadia wood - and on and on. The thing that impressed me was that the craftsmen finally had to go to Moses and ask him to tell the people to stop bringing the offerings because THEY HAD ENOUGH to do the work. I stopped at this point, and had a few thoughts (which when I read on - realized Beth wrote exactly the same thoughts I had!) They were - imagine saying to the congregation - OKAY, we don't need any thing else - you don't need to tithe - you don't need to sign up to volunteer - we have our needs filled. WOW.... I can't imagine. Especially since I came out of ministry somewhat disillusioned at how few volunteers there were at times, or how in many cases, the same people are doing numerous volunteer positions! In many cases, there was obligation, or a sense of "I have to otherwise no one else will and the program will not run." Ouch...

And so I carried on in the lessons, and thought of the "freewill offerings" I give to the Lord - that I "joyfully give" to him. I remembered the day that we had our "Come, Walk and Pray" at our new land, and people gave of their time, walked the land and rained over it with prayer!! A sweet offering on behalf of the ministry Women Refreshed at the Well. And then - at the end, when Alvin and I were leaving, Alvin told me that someone had given him an envelope. When I opened it - I wept. Inside, in mostly 20 dollar bills, was $1000. This was given to me from a couple who are retired, but he felt God calling him to give to the ministry. I was blown away.
Since then, we have had a few cheques come in the mail - just out of the blue - from friends, or from friends of our kids, men and women who are giving because they believe in this women's ministry that God has laid on our hearts. Blown away by God moving through others. If some of you are reading this - a huge thanks. (and the tax receipts should be in the mail soon).

So --- on to more thoughts. God - what am I giving you? (besides financially giving). What does my "time" look like. Beth challenged us to write down what occupies our day. Now - that could be a little scary some days - like the days that I am full of physical pain. Leyla (weight loss practicioner) also challenged me to get a daytimer with the hours marked in, and pencil in ahead of time - the things that I have to do for myself. i.e. exercise. However - I have also been pencilling in my QT and my coffee visits with others, etc. It certainly paints a very tale-telling picture of a day.

In the study - my thoughts were directed to I Cor. 3: 9-15 where it talks about - our foundation must be Jesus Christ - and how we can build with a variety of materials: gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. And then on the judgment day - fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. New Living translation says "The fire whill show if a person's work has any value. If the work survives, the person will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames."

I have read this before, so this scripture is not new to me - however it impressed me in a new way today. (O Lord, thank you) Somehow today - it made me think of what I am doing - and my attitude. And why I do things - and whether all I do brings glory to my Lord. You see - I want to live 24/7 for Jesus. I really really want to. But sometimes my sinful self gets in the way - or my bad attitude - or unforgiveness - or on and on. I know in HIM - I am forgiven, but sometimes I am quite good at reliving "stuff" in my life. And believe me - at 51, there is "stUff!"

More thoughts have bounced around in my being - lots more thoughts which I will reserve for my journal only. I am so thankful that God has given me this time in my life - this "down time" (while I am umeployed) (and yes, even though some of it is painful both phys, and emotionally) but He is teaching me so much about following Him - about "counting the cost" of obedience - about "giving it up to God" - and about resting on his lap, and allowing Him to do his work in me. A purifying work. Sometimes I know He has turned up the heat so to speak. I am not always thankful in the moment - in fact - I have been very unthankful at times - HOWEVER - I am thankful for what I see when I walk through the fire - or go through the deep waters. I am still "intact" - okay, sometimes I smell ALOT like a "smokie" but I am not burned up!

Today - I am thankful. Very t-h-a-n-k-f-u-l! For the way the Lord loves me, and leads me, and never leaves me even when I am negligent or stubborn. I am thankful for my man! Boy I love him! I am thankful for my kids - Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael... my love for my kids - can't put it into words. I am thankful for my two Grandsons - Jay Benjamin who is no doubt running the streets of Heaven with the Lord.... and for our little Everett John who is growing so quickly this Granny can hardly believe it! (yep, we got some cuddle time yesterday AND got to babysit while the kids went out 4wheeling!) I am thankful for my extended family - my amazing friends - and on and on. (I can never keep my posts short!). Last night we had coffee with some old friends/relatives whom we haven't "coffee'd" with together in forever!! It was wonderful. God gives us great gifts in relationships with others!

I want to leave you with the verse that just resonated in my heart this morning - the Lord always knows what we need. He is sufficient isn't He. Beth Moore's workbook had a quote about the Israelites and God, "God gave not because of their faithfulness but because of HIS faithfulness!" I think it is true for us too - it is not because of what we do (or in my case don't) but because He just loves us so much - and He is faithful!! (O Lord, thank-you!)

So back to the verse that I wanted to share with you - I Peter 4: 19 New Living translation again (my translation of choice these days) "So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you!" (exclamation mark is all mine!!)

O dear ones - HE WILL NEVER FAIL US!!
At this time, I have been here for about 4 hours - so I think I better end with this. I want to bask today - in His Love, in His Grace, in His faithfulness! I hope you bask too!! Love and blessings to you all!

Thursday, February 4


Okay - so there is a new book out called Healthy Sin Foods. Really - healthy & sin in one title? Some how healthy and sin seems to be at odds with one another - especially when the word FOODS is put at the end. (Actually come to think of it further - there is never anything healthy about any kind of sin!)

Which leads me to today. I began the day early - out the door at 7:30 for my physio app.

Took my breakfast choices and cup of coffee with me. (cottage cheese on the run, with a little yogurt = concentrated protein and dairy). Then next stop was CURVES (water break). And then on to Mountain Bean for a visit with my friend Barb. (Visits are always great over a big mug of black coffee, a bottle of perrier water, and later 2 TB pumpkin seeds). And, it was great to catch up with Barb!

And then - I ended up doing some emotional eating. I HATE it when I give in to that. I know exactly when it happened and why. It was a real bad "knee-jerk" reaction to a conversation I had with someone. It was like I was looking at the thing I ate (gingersnaps) and having a mental struggle as it was going into my mouth! (why are you doing this vs I want to because I feel emotional right now!) As Leyla would say (and I could imagine the words) "Joy, you have to figure out WHY you give into the emotional eating especially when you realize it is happening!"

Okay, at that point, I threw the half eaten cookie out the window however it did not stop me from picking at one later. What the heck is all that about.

I KNOW what it is about. My emotional junk still overrides my better judgment. Darn.

I am so glad that we are getting together with our counsellor again - somehow we just need to talk through a couple things again. For the most part - I have tried to work through some of this so that I don't keep losing and gaining and losing back the same ten lbs. due to emotional eating.

I have to figure out a better way to deal with the stuff - which doesn't involve food! (whether healthy food, or sinful food.... giving in to emotional eating is just wrong!) I have to remember to keep giving God all of the stuff - even the cravings for gingersnap cookies.

At least I ended off the day with a good supper - stir fry, chicken, brown rice... (well Alvin ate the rice!) and water and later raspberries. I feel better all around when I eat better. And - Alvin enjoyed a couple gingersnaps with his coffee!

I think I am learning - slowly, surely. I am also very glad that I have made arrangements to have coffee with our counsellor next week. (it is just a double blessing that she has also become my friend!)

Healthy Sin Foods - I didn't get what the article on the news was all about - but the bottom line is that tomorrow - I want to make all HEALTHY FOOD choices - and plan ahead. Emotional stuff will always happen - it just has to stop bringing me down! For some reason, I was trying to carry this myself today! I have to continue to go with my mantra for this year ~ With God I can in 2010.

Wednesday, February 3

the "tent of meeting"

I enjoyed a precious QT (quiet time) with the Lord this morning. There were a few things that He impressed on my heart about scripture that I read (have read before) and it just totally "spoke into" my life today. The scripture was from Exodus 33 - where Moses sets up a "tent of meeting" outside of the Israelites camp. The tent is a place where they go to to meet the Lord. It was outside of the camp. It says in the Word that as Moses would go from his tent - outside the camp to the "tent of meeting" all of the people would stand at the entrance of their own tents and watch until Moses disappeared into the tent of meeting to be with God.

First of all - Moses has always been someone special to me. Moses was so "ordinary" and God used him to do extraordinary things! I love this because I feel so ordinary most of the time, and love that God still uses me!

When Moses went into the tent of meeting - it says that the Cloud descended while Moses and God talked. I was just thinking about this for a while this morning. God descended to be with Moses - human, ordinary MOSES!! In the same way this morning, I talked with the Lord, and thanked him for being right there with me - around my dining room table. I could strongly feel his presence, and as I read this portion, and imagined it - his presence felt even stronger to me.

In Exodus 33 vs. 11 it sames that when Moses spend time with God - "the Lord spoke FACE TO FACE with him, as one does with a friend!" Okay - does this strike you the same way. THE LORD SPOKE TO MOSES AS ONE DOES WITH A FRIEND! And, He did so FACE TO FACE. WOW....

I love spending time with my friends - to look into their eyes as we talk - as we share what has been happening. It is only by looking into their faces, that we can really see the emotion behind the words. It is by looking into their eyes that we can see the joy, or the pain, or the sorrow. Friends can do that when you are face to face. And Moses - well God spoke with him this way.
Woo... amazing.

I was then directed to scripture in Jeremiah 9: 23-24 which says, "those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth and that I delight in these things. I the Lord have spoken!"

Jeremiah says - it is okay to boast, or to talk about SOME things - like for instance our relationship with Almighty! That it is okay to boast about what HE is doing - about his unfailing love! And that HE has spoken. In this case - it is okay for us to boast!

I was talking with Leah the other day as we were going to church at A.C.C. I was mentioning to her that sometimes I am not sure how to share my testimony without sharing that I do hear God speak - and that God DOES speak through different ways to me - and he does impress things on my heart - etc. At one time, actually the first time that I ever heard God speak audibly (back in the early 90's) I wasn't sure if I should tell anyone - as I didn't want to look like I was flaunting it, because I wasn't. I was just totally blown away by the fact that his audible voice totally blew me out of the water. I will never, ever forget the morning God spoke loud and clear to me.

I realize that God knows each one of us - and that He also knows the best way to get our attention. And personally, I thank God that He gets my attention by speaking to me. I believe strongly that He speaks to each one of us. Sometimes I think we may not hear because our lives are too full - there are too many distractions. Other times I think one may not hear because we don't want to, or maybe we don't move "apart" from the busy-ness of life to just wait on God and listen for his voice. I also think he uses sometimes unconventional methods to get our attention. God knows what each one of us needs - and He WILL get our attention sooner or later. This morning, this scripture made me feel like - it is quite okay for me to share how God works in my life.... that it is okay because that is part of my story. And God says - I can boast in his faithfulness.

I love watching and listening to Beth Moore. One person once said to me that there is so much "ra-ra" (aka hype) when she speaks. I however disagree with this person (who did not see her firsthand on dvd or in person, just went according to what someone told her). When I went to see and hear Beth Moore speak in Fargo in August - I realized that she is totally on fire for the Lord - and what you see is really WHO she is, and how her relationship with the Lord just overflows in her life! I love that she lives for the Lord - 24/7. (I struggle when someone preaches one thing, but lives the rest of their week contrary to what they told you to do!) Don't get me wrong - I KNOW first hand that living for the Lord isn't always easy. God never said it would be.

Back to Moses - I just imagined what it would be like - talking face to face and "seeing GOD" on a daily basis. Sometimes I have plead with God - "just turn your face towards us"...
I love that God treats him as his friend. I think of my best friends - and imagine that God is even more of a greater friend than my best-est friend would be! And, I believe that seeing God daily - spending time with him daily - being face to face with the greatest friend of all - that it would bubble out of me the rest of the day!

These thoughts totally excite me! And - I see why Beth is also so excited for the Lord.

What would my "tent of meeting" look like if I sketched it. The place that I daily "set apart" for my encounter with the Almighty is not very elaborate. My tent of meeting is at my dining room table. It gives me place to spread out my Bible, and my journal. It is a place where I have enough room to have a candle burning. I love candles - it is just a "symbol" for me... of the light of the world! It is a place where I can put my big mug of coffee down - and just spend time, whether it is half hour - or two and a half hours. It is easy for me to read, study, write and pray as I sit there. I just realized that sometimes people have a "special chair" to curl up in with their Bible, and I have a chair too - but I still prefer the dining room table. That way I don't have to juggle all the stuff on my knee.

I just realized that meeting at the dining room table makes sense in another way. I LOVE gathering my kids around the table - that is where we meet, and eat together and talk - and laugh. It makes sense to me this is a favorite spot also to meet, talk, laugh with, cry, and share coffee time with my Lord. This is my tent of meeting.

The thing that I also strongly believe - and I base this on my experience... that when we spend time wiht the Lord - the more we spend time with Him - the more I hear him speak to me. The more I hear him speak - the more I want to hear him speak, and the more time I want to speand with Him. I know - I am going around in a circle trying to explain this right?

The one thing I know is that I want to encourage you - whomever is reading this blog - to make time daily to spend in QUIET TIME with the Lord. At first it may seem like hard work because it may not be easy to just spend time with God. Or you may not feel like you know what to do when you sit down to spend the time. But please - just spend the time. You and God.... in a nice quiet spot. Your bible, your pen and paper and just talk with Him... like you would with your best friend. I hope you will do this, and that you will experience the sweet sweet time together.

So Lord, thank you for loving to spend time with me - as your friend. I love that I can feel your presence with me. I love that you say - if I am to boast - I should boast in your unfailing love! Thank you for speaking to me - as if to a friend. Thank you - that you are the friend to sinners - and that most of all - you have covered me with your love, your mercy and your grace. And - I sit here in your presence - absolutely forgiven! I pray dear Lord - that many others will begin to spend time sitting with you - meeting with you in their "tent of meeting" and that it will be something they do on a daily basis - meet with you - face to face - like one friend to another. O Lord - thank you.

Tuesday, February 2

Good Night Moon

outside, the snow crunches as I walk
it is dark
the dog and I follow the little path from the back garage door - to the wood boiler
he runs ahead. Blind. Deaf. But not stupid.
he knows the routine, and is glad that he is out stretching his legs
the light from the house gives some light to the yard beyond
the woodsmoke rises straight up from the chimney
there is no wind
as i get to the boiler, even in the dark I can see that the temperature gauge is high
my son-in-law stoked the boiler well. mental note: send text to Michael to say thanks
beside the boiler, is a pile of wood for me to use
much easier tasking - loading the boiler - when the wood doesn't have to be carried over
the boiler door opened - the glow of wood still burning meets my eyes
it is so much easier loading wood onto burning wood, instead of trying to start up a new fire!
not sure what it will be like in the morning.
this morning, the wood had all burned and there was minimal embers left.

the dog investigated the outdoors
and even with his limited senses, he seems to know when I clap my hands together
he knows it means he can run up to me, jump up with his front paws on my front
- and get his head rubbed
he is such a good and loyal dog

as i am working outside, i stop to look up at the sky
the stars are bright.
the night is dark
the heavens are declaring the glory of God!!

it is quiet as I return to the house
only the sound of my walking in the snow
the dog runs back to the door - waiting to be let in
it is night - and we are all settled inside.
Good-Night Moon.

Feeling a Little Bit Melancholy

Today is a "feeling a bit melancholy" type of day.

I looked up the definition of melancholy, as I thought it just meant - feeling a little sad, or a little thoughtfully/introspective. Actually it defined melancholy as: Sadness or depression of the spirits; gloom: "There is melancholy in the wind and sorrow in the grass" (Charles Kuralt)

Hmm.... yes, that I guess could describe me? Nothing in particular - just a bit of a feeling. I am loving that I am home. My FMS pain is much less today. I am very thankful about that. On Friday, it hurt to hold a phone to my ear.

My husband and son-in-law Michael are working in the shop on BJFWorks stuff. It is nice to have the company around AND to know that they will load the woodboiler before leaving for work later. (I loaded it this morning and last night).

Today especially, for some reason, I am really feeling sad about not going anywhere this winter. (forgive me if I sound like a brat) There are a few reasons we are NOT going right now ... and so, we will be sitting tight for this season. My body loves the warmth of the sun in hot climates. My soul - well, there is just something amazing about sitting with the hOt sun, hOt sand, and the sound of the ocEan. Guess I will just have to be envious of others and put in my CD that plays ocean sounds. (insert a sAd face here!) We are hoping to go with our family together in October (oh Lord, please allow that to happen). And planning with some friends, to go on a "mission trip" this time next year. October will be, Lord willing, after the major part of our build, and before the snow falls to make the snow removal business busy again. I have realized that my life will never just be mundane, and believe me i AM thankful - but sometimes it just doesn't seem like "normal" folks. However - I also realize if we were just always sitting at home doing nothing but watching t.v. we would just shrivel up and die! And, I am too young for that!

So, in the meantime, I will feel a little melancholy from time to time ~ and I will tell others that are going away, that I am jealous of them ~ and I will look forward to October and pray that our family get away happens ~ and work on getting this body healthier and happier so that I can actually feel good in that swim suit when it happens!! (yesterday I had my check in with Leya, and was down some poundage (WOOHOO!!!) - - which now makes it 11 lbs) And in between now and then (October) - there is the fullness of life!

The other day, as Leah and Everett and I were driving home from church (I went with Leah and Ev to their church) we stopped on the perimeter for a train. As the train whistled and blew - we talked about how "mournful" it sounds - this sad warning to all closeby. Next time you hear a train, just think of how it sounds. Very, very lonely, mournful, sad.

Life has those moments - and I am thankful that through each melancholy moments of a day - I can still talk about it, process it, and thank God that I am alive and well to welcome each day and live it to the fullest. (some days more full than others!)

I figure being melancholy once in a while is okay. I am glad that I am very "aware of" these days and work through the thoughts, and feelings. And, thoughts and visits with my little grandson definitely snap me back into the joy that fills these days and intertwines between the other melancholic and reflective moments. My little grandson Everett is now smiling alot. He is also beginning to "talk" a little here and there - you know, those beginning cooing noises, and little laughing sounds are beginning to happen. I love that when Josh and Leah nuzzle into his little face with kisses - he smiles. Or when they whistle a little tune - he smiles. And bottom line - this little guy brings this Granny great joy! SO - what are a few melancholy moments in the midst of the joy! Have a great day!

Monday, February 1

Manna for each day.... O Lord - your grace is enough!

Today I wept. Both times it was at the church that I had pastored in. Both times it was with two different friends. One time my young friend wiped her eyes, in response to my tears, which caught me by surprise. The second time was after the Beth Moore DVD when a good friend came up, put her arm around me and wept FOR me... and I wept too. Both times were in relationship to the same stuff I am working through. (ya, more of the same).

It was a good day today, don't get me wrong. I had lab work done after fasting... I went to the clinic to "weigh in" (total 11 lbs) ...had lunch with my daughter (she treated me today) ... I visited with my friend Sue (whom I have missed like crazy over the past little while) and chatted over coffee...went for my chiro app... I went to physio, went for a quick supper (which was totally NOT what I should have chosen) and went to the Beth Moore Study and came home. It's late, but I have alot of stuff rattling around in my brain!

Tonight was the DVD response to our last week of study. What a week... "New Starts and Barren Hearts" was the title for the week. It was (in Beth's words)
  1. A Glimpse of the Wilderness
  2. The Bittersweetness of Marah
  3. The Trouble With Old Appetites
  4. Glorious Morning and
  5. Clothes that Last

The last week basicall talked about how God heard the cries of His children, the Israelites, and how He faithfully met their needs. She said, "Our own insufficiencies are only invitations to experience the supernatural sufficiency of a universally powerful, personally responsible God!"

The lesson that particularly spoke into my heart was the one on Day 4 called GLORIOUS MORNING. It talked about how God (PROVIDER) wanted us to recognize that HE IS OUR DAILY PROVISION! It was the whole story about how God provided for them in the wilderness - the mannah. Each one was "to gather" what they needed... and it just so happened that each one got exactly what they needed for their family. It was in the morning that they went out, and saw it, like "flakes" on the ground.

Beth shared in the DVD that God was teaching them something so special and important through the manna that he sent down from heaven for them. They were to gather it DAILY. It was their daily provision.

She talked about how we love to STORE things - but that the "bread of Heaven" must be gathered FRESH every day - and that we will never have a "healthy" relationship with the Lord unless we "gather the Bread of Heaven" daily and form a relationship with Him. She underscored that "the God of the Universe desires to commune with us every single day!"

I KNOW that God - and His Grace - IS sufficient for me! I know that. I also know that HE IS the one that will walk me through ANY and EVERY crisis in my life. That "his mercies are new every morning." O Lord - I thank you for this reminder - help me to cling to your promises - you are an amaZing God!! My Lord and My God!

O Lord - how sweet is the time spent with you. Help me to make you, and time in your Word - a priority! Thank you for the one on one time spent with women today - Ashley, Leyla, Sue, Jeannette. Thank you for the hugs I was given today (besides my sweet man) Ashley, Jeannette, Sue, Karis, Tracy. Thank you for the words of encouragement, love and support from friends and family: Ashley (over lunch), Jeannette (over supper), Karis and Irene and Lisa...I love my friends.

Your grace is enough... FOR ME! Thank you Lord!