Thursday, December 29

Christmas reflections ... leading up to the end of 2011

Christmas has come and gone.  My little 3 foot tree still shines brightly.  This is the second year in a row that we used the little tree that we had given to Mom K when she moved into her apartment.  You see, this is the THIRD place we have lived between moving from Anola July 2010 till now, December 2011.  I have been "temporarily housed" for 17 months.  Honestly, we did not think it would ever be this long, but we are dealing with it :)

Our tree decorations, house decorations, and tree stand are all stored in our semi trailer on site here.  Not sure where they are in the stuff, but it is in there.  I put up some garland that I bought, with a couple strands of little lights ... to get in the Christmas mood since Alvin was jokingly accusing me of being a Grinch about decorating!  (gotta love that man!)

I wanted so badly to enjoy the season this year.  And I believe we did ... more than normal.  I had done a fair bit of my shopping on line - so that took some stress away.  I had made a wish list (few posts back) and there are still many things on the list that I don't know if I will get done before January 1st.  Some may have to carry over to next year's Christmas.

We celebrated with our kids - in our "traditional" Christmas Eve style ... got together at Josh and Leah's - ordered in Chinese Food and played cards and just hung out for the evening.  We got to spend some time with Ev - and well, that is simply the best!!  Before we went to their place - Alvin and I went to the first of 3 Christmas Eve services at Eastview.  At the end, anyone wishing to join the choir for the Hallelujah Chorus, was invited to come up.  Alvin and I went.  That song simply gives me goosebumps!!

Christmas Day - our kids were spending time with their other side of the family (Hayes and Thiessen's) and so Alvin and I went out to the Lake and spent Christmas Lunch at my sisters, with many of my Thomas side.  It was relaxing and fun, although we missed those that were not there.  We did not consume as many mashed potatoes as normally since my "little" brother Tim, and Jody and niece Amanda were in Hawaii.  The day was so beautiful, and above normal temps.

The kids, Everett and Alvin and I had our "Christmas" on Boxing Day.  We began with waffles - and then gifts - then later we went to Josh and Leah's after Ev's nap - and spent time walking and playing in the snow at the park.  And then back to decorate a gingerbread house (Ev licked a few candies before putting them in place!) and then supper, and more play time, and then after Ev went to bed we hung out in the downstairs and watched a Christmas movie together.

Our Christmas was relaxing and just so good.  It was quite something to see Everett enjoying Christmas from his 2 year old view!

One thing that we also included on Christmas Day, was a trip to take some flowers to Sunnyside Cemetery.  We didn't feel like we HAD to ... but we WANTED to. You see, our firstborn Grandson would have really been enjoying Christmas here with us - as he would be 3 and a half.  So often I see kids and size them up, and realize how big our little Jay would have been and the things he would be doing!  What a great pair of buddies Jay an Everett would have been,  We parked the car, and I grabbed the flowers from the backseat.  We walked to the little headstone, and I laid them down.  I know that our grandson is in Heaven - and honestly, he doesn't care if I lay flowers.  But, every celebration, every milestone - Jay Benjamin is just so much a part of my heart.

I stood there and wept.  All of a sudden, they just flowed.  Alvin put his arm around me and hugged me.  I just miss our little boy so much.  We can only wonder what he would have been like, or how much he and Everett would be alike ~ or maybe not.  Only God knows that really.

I also realize that Jay is spending his eternity now already, with Jesus, who was the baby that came to the manger, and the Saviour that died on the cross for our sin, and the one who rose again three days later.  I sometimes just dream about heaven - dream about what Jay is doing and what my parents are doing.  Reading the book HEAVEN IS FOR REAL was such a good thing for me.  It has been suggested to me that I have not "worked through" my grief yet because I still talk about our little Jay.  WORKED THROUGH???  Only those working IN their grief knows that you never get THROUGH it .. but that the journey changes you and also changes with time, but you are never "over" it or "through" it ... as if grief only hits for a period of time and then voila! it is gone!!  (sorry, maybe I am sounding a little abrupt here)  My grief/Our grief journey WILL change with the years ... but it will always be "our" journey and we won't be THROUGH it till we get to kiss our sweet boy in Heaven when we go there!  THEN we will be THROUGH it!

It was beautiful at Sunnyside.  Springlike weather.  Not much snow.  And so peaceful.  I am thankful that we were able to stop their before heading to the lake.

Many emotions have made up my season of Christmas.  Music has moved me.  Movies have made me laugh.  Scripture has challenged me.  My grandson Everett has brought so much joy into our Christmas.  We have enjoyed this season ... and have also enjoyed reflecting in this post.  We have hugged friends, laughed with family and friends, talked over coffee and plum pudding, wrapped gifts and unwrapped gifts!  But the greatest gift of all ...  see the Scripture below!

Isaiah 9:6

New Living Translation (NLT)
 6 For a child is born to us,
      a son is given to us.
   The government will rest on his shoulders.
      And he will be called:
   Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

PS ... sorry, I think I rambled!!

PSS ... thank you to Betty, my sweet friend, who helped me realize something on my wish list last night, when she made me a nice hot cup of homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream!!  Now I can check that one off too!!

Wednesday, December 28

lulling myself to sleep

I am sitting here in our kids house.  Alvin left to go home and since we are here in separate vehicles, I am waiting until our kids get home.  Everett is fast asleep in his room.  His "new" room as we call it.  His "new" bed (no crib for a few weeks now).  His room is pretty nice - his daddy and mommy have painted it, and made it special.  It has a bit of a "wildlife" theme going on, complete with a little "bear head" mounted on the wall to complete the theme.  Don't worry it is a child friendly bear head!  They have given the room a fresh and new color and coat of paint, and then drawn some mountains, and trees and a few other little things.  Everett has adapted quite well to his new room.  And, he loves having it pitch black, and does not want anyone laying down beside him.  He made that clear to them right away.  So after the bedtime routine is finished (get his jammies on, brush and floss teeth, read, sing and pray) then he goes into his sleep sack and they kiss him good night and shut the door.  It is a very easy routine, and has made babysitting very easy ever since he was very little!  ANYHOW.  Tonight I came and didn't see him because they were already in process of putting him down for his sleep and I didn't want to create any stir. Then they came out, and turned his baby monitor on.

It was very cute to listen to.  Everett was busy talking.  "Elmo.  Elmo. Elmo.  Me. Me. Auntie. Auntie.  One Show.  One Show.  Daddy.  Daddy.  One show.  Poppa.  Tractor ..."
Those were a few of the things he said.  It is cute actually because I realize he loves ALL of the things he said!!  He talked a lot more ... interspersed with some other stuff - a sort of sing-song-talking or LULLING himself to sleep.  Leah said he has been a real busy two year old - with many activities/family/friends/Christmas gatherings/later than normal nights/fuller than normal days and that he is tired, but is likely trying to wind down.  Before too long, it was quiet, and has been since.  Our little Sweetness is fast asleep.   Lulled to sleep.  I have to admit, his talking made me smile!  I think I even heard my name mentioned!!

I looked up the definition of "lull" in the online free dictionary.  Here is what it says:

ThesaurusLegend:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Noun1.lull - a pause during which things are calm or activities are diminished; "there was never a letup in the noise"
pausesuspensionintermissioninterruptionbreak - a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
2.lull - a period of calm weather; "there was a lull in the storm"
calmness - an absence of strong winds or rain
Verb1.lull - calm by deception; "Don't let yourself be lulled into a false state of security"
calmstilltranquilizetranquillisetranquillizecalm downquietquietenlull - make calm or still; "quiet the dragons of worry and fear"
2.lull - become quiet or less intensive; "the fighting lulled for a moment"
silencestillhushhush upquietenshut up - cause to be quiet or not talk; "Please silence the children in the church!"
3.lull - make calm or still; "quiet the dragons of worry and fear"
lull - calm by deception; "Don't let yourself be lulled into a false state of security"
compose - calm (someone, especially oneself); make quiet; "She had to compose herself before she could reply to this terrible insult"
appeaseassuageconciliategentlegruntlelenifymollifypacifyplacate - cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of; "She managed to mollify the angry customer"
reassureassure - cause to feel sure; give reassurance to; "The airline tried to reassure the customers that the planes were safe"
comfortconsolesolacesoothe - give moral or emotional strength to

It has made me think - what would I be saying as I lulled myself to sleep? What would I say as I tried to make myself calm, or still!  (oh boy, being still is sometimes the hardest thing to do!)   Sometimes I hop into bed, and it takes a very long time for my mind to settle down enough so that I can fall asleep!  It seems that is when the thoughts of the day are going a million miles an hour in a million directions!  A few times I have finally just gotten up, turned on a light, found a paper and pencil and written down something so that I don't have to worry about forgetting int he morning.

Sometimes though, I have found that I have prayed myself to sleep.  Praying for an old friend whose daughter has been going through some cancer ... praying for a friend who is trying to regain her strength after having cancer .... praying for my kids... praying for our ministry.... praying for myself ... praying for my friend's husband's job hunt .... praying for a friend with depression ... and on and on.
I find that more often than not, I fall asleep praying.

The other night I put on a beautiful CD that I bought at Eastview from an artist who used to be with the Beautiful Unique Girl tour through Family Life Network.  (sorry I don't have her name here with me) but it is such a nice CD that she made especially for those who find it hard, like she does, to go to sleep.

I am going to try to begin to go to bed earlier so that hopefully I can wake up easier in the morning.  I am not a morning person, but I really really want to be, and think that perhaps this is the answer.  When we begin to do B&B/Retreat, I will for sure have to get up early!!  Thinking I may have to wear some earplugs when Alvin is home, since we are in a temporary one-room set up and the TV would be a bit hard to fall asleep too (although I have no problem falling asleep on the couch!).  I have a constant ringing in my ears too.  CONSTANT!  Have had this since June 2009.  And when all is quiet - the ringing is even more noticeable!

Lulling myself to sleep!  If there was a "baby monitor" put in beside me, with someone listening in - what would I be saying to lull myself to sleep?  Perhaps you would tune into my dialogue with my Father!  You may hear things like Thank You Lord!  I am so glad that all I have to do is meditate on things of Him.   To be still.  To quiet myself!   Actually to allow Him to lull me to sleep!  Safe in His arms!!  (will have to tell you about my dream some time!)  I leave you with the verse in Philippians 4:8.  As you go to sleep tonight, may you and I both think of these things as listed here - and may God grant you a sleep that is restful - refreshing, and renewing!  Night my Friend.  Good-Night!

Philippians 4:8

The Message (MSG)

 8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Tuesday, December 27

updating my wish list

So, today is December 27th.  I have a wishlist for Christmas ... and I have added "and the week ending January 1st) onto the title.  I just seemed to run out of time, and still consider this the Christmas Season.
If you scroll down you will see that all of the ones in BLACK are the things that have been done. Note that there are still many unmet wishes!! These are the things that are still in RED.  Have to do something about this.  Some of the things are "in process" while some are just well, still unmet and I have no plans for them yet.  

My WiShLiSt for Christmas:  (and the week ending January 1st!)

  • have a hot chocolate with whipping cream on it 
  • find a new ornament with "Joy" written on it, and purchase it
  • get a photo taken of Alvin and I for our christmas card
  • write our Christmas letter and get it out BEFORE Christmas
  • buy someone I don't know, coffee or hot chocolate
  • watch a Christmas movie
  • go and tour the "lights" of the city with Alvin
  • have coffee with a friend at my favorite coffee shop
  • sing a christmas carol while driving in the car, and don't worry about who is watching
  • make something special for my co-workers - just because they bring me such joy
  • donate my time in some type of volunteer activity
  • put together a christmas hamper for someone who needs it
  • make a gingerbread house with my grandson Everett
  • go for a hike in Bird's Hill Park, and end with coffee at Pineridge Hollow OR a weiner roast
  • write a note and mail it by snailmail, to someone whom I have not seen or talked to in a long time
  • visit with someone older than me
  • take flowers to someone 
  • make peppermint cookies
  • put a puzzle together with my husband (I bought one, and took it out of the box, does that count?) 
  • go Christmas caroling with friends
  • get a pedicure with my daughters
  • make a snowman
  • knit something for someone
  • try a new recipe
  • spend some time "retreating" and use the time to read through the Christmas Story as recorded in the gospels

Sunday, December 18

Our little "sweetness" turns 2

an open letter to my Grandson Everett John, who turns 2 today!

Auntie Ashley took these pictures of Josh, Leah and Everett in fall, at McIvor Park

How can it be little one, that you have grown into a sweet little 2 year old that we see today
Gentle and sensitive
Kind and loving
Learning new things
Taking it all in as you run, and talk, and touch, and play
Oh sweetheart, how I love you so.

Two years ago 
Can it really be two years?
that we waited together ~
anxious for your arrival
and rejoicing when we finally got to touch you,
to gaze at your sweet little face,  to smell you, and to kiss your little cheeks.

How can it be 2 years already
 ~ that we have loved you
and you have loved us in your little two year old way
Every time we hear your little voice calling us - "Granny"  "Poppa"
Or see the little twinkle in your eyes
Or get the sweet little kiss from you
Our hearts melt.
You have completely got us, hook, line and sinker
This Granny and Poppa, are absolutely smitten. 
We were from the very first time we laid our eyes on you!

How can it be little one
that you are already 2.
What this year will hold, we can only imagine.
It will begin with you becoming a brother to your new little sibling
How will you adapt and adjust?
Time will tell, but somehow, we can imagine that you will want to help, 
you will want to touch the soft baby cheeks
and you will want to plant those soft little kisses on your baby's cheeks too.

How can it be little one
That you have gone from the little one snoozing in the laundry basket
to the sweet toddler we celebrate today,
who loves to run, and slide
who loves to ride the old wooden horse
or the riding toys
who loves to swing
and climb
and read
and color
and play 
and dance and twirl
and enjoy your friends.

Where has the time gone sweet one?
And how quickly it will continue to go.
Granny somehow doesn't want to miss any of this
I love to see you growing so strong, active and healthy.  
And I am often  taken back to the days when your daddy was your size
you are so like him
and yet so like your mommy
Only God can create you with all the best parts of both of them!

We love you so little One.
You will continue to grow
You will exercise your will
You will challenge your parents as only a two year old can!
You will learn
You will copy
You will live life with the gusto that a two year old has
And we will love you more
and more
and more with each day!
The way a Granny and Poppa can!

Happy Birthday to our little sweetheart!
Everett John Klassen
You are 2 today!
We celebrate YOU!!

Everett the day we celebrated his "half" birthday in June.

Everett "driving" the boat in summer, and watching as Poppa backed it down and into the water.

Ev and his Mommy

Sunday, December 4

My Christmas WiShLiSt

What do I wish for, for Christmas?
Not the things that you can buy, but the things that bring some joy.
Things that involve special moments, with special people during this special season!
Things that are perhaps a surprise, and other times planned.
Spontaneous, and yet intentional.

Perhaps this will be the year that Christmas comes without the "hurried, worn out, rushing about" feeling that often usually accompanies my Christmas season (unfortunately).  SO... I am going to do something, and make a list of things I would love to do before Christmas, or part of this season!  (I won't lie, I got this idea from my daughter and her friend!)

My WiShLiSt for Christmas:

  • have a hot chocolate with whipping cream on it
  • find a new ornament with "Joy" written on it, and purchase it
  • get a photo taken of Alvin and I for our christmas card
  • write our Christmas letter and get it out BEFORE Christmas
  • buy someone I don't know, coffee or hot chocolate
  • watch a Christmas movie
  • go and tour the "lights" of the city with Alvin
  • have coffee with a friend at my favorite coffee shop
  • sing a christmas carol while driving in the car, and don't worry about who is watching
  • make something special for my co-workers - just because they bring me such joy
  • donate my time in some type of volunteer activity
  • put together a christmas hamper for someone who needs it
  • make a gingerbread house with my grandson Everett
  • go for a hike in Bird's Hill Park, and end with coffee at Pineridge Hollow OR a weiner roast
  • write a note and mail it by snailmail, to someone whom I have not seen or talked to in a long time
  • visit with someone older than me
  • take flowers to someone 
  • make peppermint cookies
  • put a puzzle together with my husband
  • go Christmas caroling with friends
  • get a pedicure with my daughters
  • make a snowman
  • knit something for someone
  • try a new recipe
  • spend some time "retreating" and use the time to read through the Christmas Story as recorded in the gospels

Monday, November 28

just something about the past three weeks...

I have been off work for just over 3 weeks now, and return tomorrow to my "donor service rep" job with CBS.  (which by the way - if you have ever THOUGHT of donating blood ~ now is the time!!)
I am feeling like I am starting a new job even though I have only been off work with my hurt leg! I love that I love my job!  I love that I actually miss my co-workers.  I do not take that for granted.

SO that being said, as I look back on the past few weeks, they have been a "gift" in a few ways ~ NOT THAT I WOULD CONSIDER THE FALL A GIFT ~ but the time to just sit and to just "be" was very timely.  Timely but hard.  It IS hard to sit and get other people to bring you stuff (especially the first week and a half when I was on crutches)  Hard to walk with crutches and carry my cup of coffee.  It forced me to become quite inventive!

Before my fall, I had poured out some of my thoughts to God one day - thoughts about struggling with lack of discipline in my life in all areas.  In fact my journal entry from October 28th said this:
"Is my lack of journal entries an indication of my heart?  O Lord ~
I think my struggle is a lack of discipline in my life.  In all areas.  I want to do, what I do not do.  I am so pitiful at times.  So pitiful!"

That morning as I wrote in my journal, I was waiting for something to be completed, so I had taken my journal because I knew I would have time.  I wrote some more as I sat waiting.
"It is a time to sit and wait.  Seems I sit and wait when I have to and yet Lord, I often don;t choose to willingly sit and wait!"

Ohhhh....  little did I know that less than 5 days later, as a result of my fall down the steps, I would be forced to "sit and wait" and make the best of it!  But God knew that.  And in retrospect, I am thankful for the time as I sat, waited, listened, journaled, read, had my QT with the Lord, worked on my online course in Soul Talk, and was just able to "be" which I totally understood even before this forced waiting time!

It was also a time for me to become very appreciative of all that my husband (my sweet man) and my kids do for me.  And all that they mean to me.

But as I look back, I realize that as I become more mobile and as I become more involved in being able to work again, and as I become involved in the fullness that leads up to Christmas, I really do not want to lose what I learned during the time off.  How easily I fall back into old patterns, into old routines and into old undisciplined life style.

I want to live fully in all ways but do not want to become consumed by being BUSY.  Man, I hate that word!  It is just NOT a good word!  So I will become more intentional about my time and the best things to put into it.  I don't want to miss a minute of the amazing moments that each day holds!
I want to develop some more discipline ... some routine (although even the word routine sounds kind of boring!)  I want to embrace life and live a life of thankfulness. I want to make sure that I DO put "first things first!!"THESE are my thoughts today!  O Lord, please help me because I can't do it alone!

Friday, November 11

we remember

I want to live for peace.  Peace in my life.  Peace in the life of my family.  Peace in the world.
My dad, who was a WWII veteran, and amputee because of it ~ spent the last years of his life as an advocate for peace.  He spoke at many schools.  One time Shaw Cable produced an interview that a student had done with my dad being interviewed.  My dad went to war.  He said it was the thing to do!  Each young man wanted to fight for the King.  In my dad's family - two of them went to war.  Both returned, however they returned with many scars of war - some visible, most not.

My dad used to tell the kids that were spellbound ~ listening to his story ~ that we have to live in peace.  That War should not happen again.

When my dad went to war, he left behind a mom and dad (and many siblings).  His mom gave him something to take.  It was a little black leather New Testament.  She asked him if he would promise to read from it each day that he was away.  My Grandma Thomas - I wished I had known her.  A woman of great faith.  A woman who embraced life to the fullest.  A woman who loved her family so much.  I can only imagine the hug that she gave to my dad - her son who was 3rd youngest in a family of 13.  Or should I say I really can't imagine.  I have had to send my son off to study in a different city - and that was hard enough.  I have never, Thank God, had to send my son off to fight in a war.

My dad loved his mom.  I know that just from the way I saw him talk about his mom.  At this time, before he left, he promised her that he would read it.  And, my dad said that he did.  He read it every day - even if it meant reading it while sitting in the latrine.  My dad also said that he carried this New Testament in the inside breast pocket of his uniform.

My grandmother's faith was strong.  At the point where my dad went away to war, he knew about God but had never given his life personally to Jesus.  He had never made that choice, for whatever reason.  But, I have no doubt that he knew what it meant to accept Jesus forgiveness, and what it meant to make Jesus Lord of his life.  He just did not see the need.  After all, he was young - just barely a man - and he had his whole life ahead of him.  He surely didn't need God at this point.  I have no doubt that my grandma was on her knees in prayer ALOT while my dad was growing up and then away fighting a war.

Fighting was his choice.  Fighting was his obligation.  He went away strong, healthy, full of life and ready to do what needed to be done for the sake of freedom.

My dad was hurt in Italy.  A country that is so full of romance these days.  It held many memories for my dad.  Memories that woke him up in a cold swet often during his nights.  Memories that he kept hidden away for the most part - except for the obvious schrapnel wounds, and the very visible loss of a leg.  My dad began to tell his story in written form,  about the night a shell landed close to where he was in the trenches.  He said that he laid there for a very very long time.  In fact, so long that when his comrades found him - they thought that he was dead.

He said that as he laid there thinking that this was his end, his thoughts turned to his Mother.  He remembered how she had asked him to read his bible daily.  He said he laid there knowing that if he died, he would die without giving his heart to Jesus BUT he said that he hoped that his mom would think that perhaps he had, and that she would have some peace thinking of that.  I found that really interesting.  Interesting that there he was - faced with death (which he thought was just a matter of time) and yet he still did not choose Jesus as Lord.  There was no deathbed conversion happening.  That to me is very very interesting.  It was not until my two sisters were born that my dad gave his life to Jesus Christ at a gospel meeting at St. James Gospel Chapel.  And he lived all out for the Lord for the rest of his life - fully embracing the grace that he experienced, and the forgiveness of sin!  Thank you Jesus!

As a little girl - I remember sitting on my dad's knee and taking my finger and touching his scars and asking him why he had them.  His answers were always short - and I didn't ever ask him more.  My mom told me how hard it was for him to learn how to walk again.  She met him at Deer Lodge Hospital when he was flown home from the hospital in England.  It sounded like love at first sight.  My dad however had to learn how to adapt to life minus a leg.  My dad had a girlfriend then who didn't have time for him any more when she realized life would not be the same.  My dad had been a dancer, and a square dance caller ... how in the world would he dance now!! My mom told me how, when he began to use crutches, and then to get used to using an artificial leg - that he fell alot.  She talked about how she would want to run and help him, but my dad did not want help.  And he for sure did not want any pity!

As a little girl I remember when my mom would let me take out his medals and look at them.  I remember asking about them and imagining them pinned to my dad's uniform.  As a little girl I would look at the picture of my dad as a soldier, that my mom had on the dresser.  Handsome as all get out!
The picture taken before his life and mind was filled with the horrors of war.

War - should never happen again.
We have to live in peace.
These were my dad's words.
In fact, my dad died November 2 - just mere days before he was scheduled to speak again at Sun Valley School.

We must never forget.  NOT that we are glorifying war, but that we will remember not to take freedom of country for granted.

We must never forget the families that lost loved ones on the fields during WWI, WWII and all of the wars that have been fought, and are being fought right up to the present day - combat missions.
The tears that run down the faces of the mothers ...
The broken hearts.
The sacrifice of life - for "freedom"

O Lord, let there be peace on earth and please let it begin with me!  This is my prayer on this day when I am choosing to remember the past.  Let peace begin with me!

This version of In Flanders Fields was written by Helen Litz, and sung by her choir, Winnipeg Mennonite Children's Choir.  Ashley (my daughter) sang with the choir from time she was 9 till 18.  It is a beautiful but haunting rendition.

Thursday, November 10

timing is everything even when we think the timing is all wrong

So, I am one week in to the "off work" part of my injury.  My form from the doctor says "absent from work beginning November 3 for 3 weeks" or something close to that effect.  Someone mentioned that they wondered if this timing was God ordained.  Now part of me has thought that "if" it was God ordained, I have to wonder about God's timing.   But the other part of me has often said that "God's timing is always right".  SO .... which is it?  (guess I need to stop being so wishy washy hey!)

I have to be on crutches and in this big boot with minimal weight bearing on my booted foot for 1.5 weeks until I begin physio with Jay.  My first app is next Tuesday.   THEN I think I can let the crutches go and walk without them although still minimally until the three weeks is up, at which time Jay has to say if I am good to go back to work or need more time.  I have to say that my employer Canadian Blood Services and my co-workers have been amazing to me.  I have a feeling that my coworker DSR's are working extra shifts to cover mine.  How will I ever repay them!  (I really miss those women!!)

Now, that being said, I do remember back a week and a bit ago, when I was talking with God and sharing how I am struggling with lack of Quiet Time with Him in my life - and lack of time to just sit and soak in the Word, and the lack of journalling, and lack of doing the things that are feeding my soul with true nourishment.  I was lamenting the lack of routine in my life that INCLUDED the things that satisfied my thirsty soul.  And here I am now, with lots of time on my hands!  (so it is hard to think that this time off is NOT God-ordained!)  I am not saying God did this to me.  NO, I stepped off those steps in my hurry and obliviousness ... but I also believe that nothing happens outside of His knowledge and plan for us.

Yesterday morning was glorious ...
Today began even earlier.  Alvin went out the door at about 6:40 - heading off to work.  Normally I would head back to bed, but instead I began the day with my study by Beth Moore - Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent (which are Psalm 120 - 134)  Today I had finished (finally) week 2 which was the study of Psalm 124 and was able to watch the video download for session 2.  The video finished off with Travis Cottrell singing.  WOW.

From there, I read a little from the book by Eugene Petersen "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" which is also on the Psalms of Ascent.  I just read the first chapter but all I can say is another WOW.

Then I went to our church's website.   Last Sunday Alvin went to Eastview Community Church without me.  He thought I should give my leg a rest and NOT try to go.   But he came home saying that Dave Ens had a really great sermon again.  SO I went to and watched online.  And, another WOW.

So here it is - almost 11 and I still have not begun to do the filing that is so badly needed.  (have to try to drag the boxes of stuff to file over to where I am) HOWEVER man alive, have I enjoyed being in the presence of God this morning, and being totally blessed by people who have spoken into my lives through the media.

God, you are so good.  Regardless of how things go in my life - your goodness does not hinge on THAT.  Your goodness is all about my relationship with you and how you love me so much, and long to be my all in all!  I give you thanks and praise for all you have done, for what you are doing, and for all you will do in me, through me, and with me!!  I love you Lord.  

now .... I have some filing to do, gotta run!!  there is "other" work to be done!


Monday, November 7

our sweet little man

Today Leah and Ev came to visit us here at the land.  Josh was working with Alvin and so by coming out not only did I get a visit, but so did Josh and Alvin.  It is always a good reason to stop working when Leah and Ev come.  Anyhow - being relatively still since I hurt my foot - I was very happy to hear them knock and say hello!

Everett is our little sweetness ... there is just no other way to describe him.  He is so much fun.  He is saying more and more phrases each day it seems.  He has a cute little voice although it is a little raspy because of his cold.

He makes "eyes" and knows especially when he is being cute! (which really is most of the time!)  He makes us laugh alot.  He loves to cuddle.  He loves to be sung to.  He likes to do "round and round the garden went the teddy bear" and also "cut the pickle, tickle tickle!"

I bought a set of Elmo hands and I keep them with me, or bring them to his house when I come to visit!  When you press Elmo on one of the "tickle hands" he sings and tells you to do the tickle dance.  Everett loves this.  He spins, dances, laughs, and when Cookie Monster says "cowabunga" Everett repeats it!

Today while we were waiting for lunch I was holding Everett as Leah was making the potatoes for our lunch.  (I appreciated this, as working in the kitchen while using crutches has its drawbacks!)  So, Everett and I sat and took some pictures and some video with my ipod.  You will see how cute he is!   Yes, I am unabashedly bragging!  Isn't that what Granny's are allowed to do?

I just love our sweet little man!! Enjoy this cute little video clip from my ipod.

Friday, November 4

doing the unexpected

won't be wearing my right runner for about 3 weeks!

It is a stupid thing that I have done.  Stupid because I did it not just once, but twice!  Yes folks!  TWICE.

I walked down the steps from our current living quarters.  The steps have no railing, but that was not an issue up till about 6 weeks ago, when early one morning, I stepped off of the second last step thinking I was on the ground.  Such it was - my first fall from the steps!  Luckily, I did not break my foot or anything else!  BUT I did end up with a bit of a sore hip again :(

Fast forward to Wednesday - early morning.  I was going to go and get my keys which Alvin hung above the freezer at the door.  I wanted to start my car so that I could defrost it - as the early morning frost was thick on the windshield.  I needed to go to the gym (which I was procrastinating about) and had to be at work in time, so my schedule was pretty tight if I didn't get going.

SO down the stairs I went - carefully, or so I thought!  AND I am not sure what happened... I think I was looking straight ahead at the hooks on the wall for my keys,  when I stepped off of the second last step (again) and went down.  Down hard.  And down in a different way, with my feet landing under me in a kneeling type of position.  And it seems like it was all in slow-mo with me thinking, "oh my, what have I done again?  this is not good!" And as I fell, I heard a very distinct "pop".  

I always wondered if when trees fell in the jungle, if people weren't around - would they still make a sound?  Well - let me tell you - when this "tree" fell onto that cement floor - it made a big sound - a few crying sounds!  Man, it hurt.  And, I was scared ... because in those early seconds as I laid there - I was not sure IF I would be able to get up, and what would I do since my cell was UPSTAIRS and Alvin was gone to work?  Were would I have to crawl?  

Slowly and surely, I was able to get up - stop howling, and get myself upstairs slowly but surely.  I surveyed the damage and thought - well - there was no blood, no blue bruising, and no bones sticking out.  Must be a twist or a sprain.  

Fast forward to the end of the day when Alvin took a look (after I did drag myself into work and hobbled around) and Alvin's words to me were "oh no, I think it may be broken".  SO, I went into the sports injury clinic here in the city (Pan Am) and 7.5 hours later, got home with a "boot" and a pair of "crutches" and my wallet $130 lighter.  NO BREAKS but severe ligament damage.  The instructions were to use crutches and put very little weight on my booted foot ... and to begin physio in 1.5 weeks, and to be off work for 3 weeks, perhaps 4 depending on what the physiotherapist says.  

(insert sad face here)     


So, here I am - hobbling around - trying to figure out how to use crutches.  With my fibromyalgia, I find that my wrists are the weakest spot, but now they are having some work put on them (using crutches).  I realize that it is impossible to walk with crutches and carry a cup of coffee! (or anything else unless it can go in a bag).  I realize how much I took my two legs for granted AND have thought about my dad alot - as he became and amputee in WWII and had to learn to walk with crutches and an artificial leg.  My dad always made it look so easy!  

I also wish I had lost the 75 lbs that I have been trying to - cause it would have made it easier to support my weight on my arms!  Maybe now that I can't get to the fridge as easy (or carry food with my crutches) I will shed a couple!! 

 Being that it is my right foot means that I can not drive (warned that it is not good if I get caught driving with my boot on, and I think it would be terribly hard to even try to drive with it) SO if I want to go anywhere by myself - I will have to de-boot to drive!

I will admit - I was feeling a little down today - it just seemed too hard to try to shuffle around.  Too hard to try to make lunch.  (last night I had popcorn for supper!)  I realized it could be really easy to just be pitiful, which I really do not like!  And then I talked with a sweet friend - who has been the recipient of the boot as well - with the same 3 week off work prescription!  She doesn't have to use crutches, BUT she is still laid up, different injury but same foot!  THING IS ... J actually sounded upbeat about it!  She sounded like she was going to fully embrace this (literal) down time - and make the best of it!  

If I believe God is sovereign (which I do) and that nothing happens out of his control, and that sometimes He allows things for reasons we may never know (which I also believe) ... then I need to embrace this time of rest!  I struggle still with this - because I think that my husband really needs a rest, and yet for some reason this rest has to be taken by me!  I fight the feeling of "adding to his work" daily, as he helps me get things, move things, etc.  But after I got off the phone with J. I realized that this is my down time and I can make the most of it - or just be down about it!  I have chosen to somehow - make the most of it!  

So I will likely travel down the steps very little over the next little while.  Maybe I just needed to slow down.  What can I do during this time?  Well - there are things - like some filing that has piled up, or my online course that I am taking but haven't been able to get to lately.  Or read the books that are waiting to be read.  OR maybe just getting my Quiet Time and journalling in daily.  I have been talking to God about this too.  Time will tell - but I really want to make the most of this down time!
And one day - maybe I can actually say thank-you Lord for this boot and set of crutches!
In the meantime, Lord, help me to take advantage of this season of rest! 

Tuesday, October 25

hello tuesday

Hello Tuesday
so far you are a good friend to me
with your beautiful morning sunrise
the sky filled with reds that are too beautiful to describe
white frost on the car
but no snow on the ground
I am loving you so far Tuesday!

Good Morning Lord
thank you for this new day
a new chance at life
I love YOU Lord ~ please use me today
for your honor and glory!
may my words, my actions, my thoughts
be pure
be wholesome
be truthful
be loving
may I be a reflection of You dear Jesus!

Hello Tuesday
I look ahead to this day
past this great cup of coffe
to my exercise time
my work day
and I do not know what all it holds
but I do know WHO holds it.
Thank you Lord.

Hello Tuesday
hello stillness of early morning
hello smell of fresh coffee
hello Jake who is here doing some electrical work
hello inspector who will come later and do the final electrical inspection

Hello Tuesday
good-bye to Monday, you made my daughter stress about her exam at university
it is a new day
and I want to live it to the full

Hello Tuesday
May you be full of wonderful surprise
Lord, may I see YOU throughout my day
Lord, please bless my sweet family
bless my friends
bless my co-workers

Hello Tuesday
Thank you Lord for reminding me of your Scripture which falls sweetly upon my soul
for your reminder to me!
I love you Lord.
Thank you for this TUESDAY!!

Hebrews 13:5

The Message (MSG)

 5-6Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you," we can boldly quote,

   God is there, ready to help;
   I'm fearless no matter what.
   Who or what can get to me?

Thursday, October 20

Turn Your Eyes

This morning as I worked through my devotional time with the Lord, I have been struck by the fact that I am often like a "kid in a candy store" (figuratively but also literally) as I go through life!  I am often star struck by the things that appeal outwardly to me, or inwardly to my sugar cravings.  I often go through life when things are going well (which does happen) and it seems at those times, I do not turn my eyes fully on my Jesus who is the author and creator of my life!!  I continue to struggle with being self sufficient!

This morning I read through Scripture, and did my Bible Study that I am doing (Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore) and TODAY I was really profoundly struck by a few things that she said.  One of them was that:

WHERE I LOOK impacts WHAT I HEAR which impacts 
                                  WHAT I FEEL which impacts WHAT I EXPECT

In his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson says it like this (page 63)

"We are not presented with a functional god who will help us out of jams or an entertainment god who will lighten our tedious hours.  We are presented with the God of exodus and Easter, the God of Sinai and Calvary.  If we want to understand God, we must do it on his terms.  If we want to see God the way he really is, we must look to the place of authority - to Scripture and to Jesus Christ.

And do we really want it any other way?  I don't think so.  We would very soon become contemptuous of a god whom we could figure out like a puzzle or learn to use like a tool.  No, if God is worth our attention at all, he must be a God we can look up to - a God we must look up to ... The moment we look  up to God (and not over at him, or down on him) we are in the posture of servitude."

I have realized that I look to things often.  I struggle with my weight and continually give in to "the candy in the candy shop" because I look at it and want it and if my defences are down - I will buy it and eat it!!  Why don't I look to Him to help me with all of it?  I continually want to, but often don't.  Isn't it Paul that said he does what he does not want to do?

This morning, as I read through my devotions, as I began the time with face-down prayer with the Lord, there is one song that has continued to run through my heart and mind.  I used to sing this alot in the little chapel and camp I grew up in.  I am including the rendition sung by Michael W. Smith who blesses me with his music.

It is my prayer today and in the days to come, that I will TURN MY EYES UPON JESUS and look FULL in his wonderful face!!  O Lord, have mercy!!

Wednesday, October 5

my sweet man (a fun post/video for today)

My sweet man.  I have known this guy for 37 years and dated him for a couple months short of 37 years! We fell in love at 16, married at 20, had our son, built our house, had our daughter ....
We farmed "on the side" getting up to over 80 cattle/calves at one time in a cow/calving operation.
We farmed pigs and cattle in a farming partnership for a couple years (until the disintegration of the other couple's marriage made us decide to get out of the farming partnership since it would get complicated)
We had dogs ...
We had cats... and cats, and cats, and cats
We entertained family and friends in our home and loved it!  If our dining room table could talk - we would hear many many hours of laughter and conversation and prayers coming from that wooden table.

And now - after 33 years of married life, and almost 37 years of dating (smile) we are in a new adventure, madly and wildly following the call of God on our lives.  I stand amazed at how Alvin believes in what God has called me/us to.  He works far too hard.  But he is one of the wisest, most knowledgeable, craziest (in a good way) man that I know - loving God, me, his kids and grandkids with a passion like I have known in no other!  Is marriage always easy?  Of course not (I am not going to lie about that!)  However - it is amazing and I would marry this guy again in a second. (which is what we did on our 25th.)

ANYHOW ... this isn't our anniversary (it passed in Sept) but I was just sitting here thinking about my sweet farmer/builder man Alvin after I watched (again) a very cute little video our kids sent us in an email.  Somehow whenever I see this - I think of Alvin.  So, I thought I would share it with you - and perhaps those of you who know him - will understand why it makes me think of him.

Kind of a fun post for today!

Monday, October 3

No Doubt

This morning, as I drove into the city (at about 6:50) I was moved by a song that I heard on CHVN 95.1

I just looked up the schedule because I could not remember a title - and I found it!  It is No Doubt by the band Petra. Not sure when they wrote it - but it spoke to me this morning!

compassion beyond measure

The title of the post today - was the title of Dave's sermon this morning at Eastview.  The sermon was about showing compassion.  Dave said that we often feel uncomfortable when we talk about showing compassion, and that there "is more at stake, for us living compassionate lives, than we know"

The Scripture passage was from Acts 3 where Peter and John are on their way to the temple and encounter a beggar who is lame.  They didn't have silver or gold, and told him such but what they gave him was way better.  They look at the lame man, and in the name of Jesus - tell him to get up and walk!  And - he does!!  And goes away walking, leaping and praising God!!

Dave said "the church gathers and shows compassion in ways that change people's lives.  Compassion is at the heart"

BUT that being said - why don't we show compassion more?  Well - because it is hard.  Because it is risky.  Sometimes we may find ourselves "judging" who needs compassion and who doesn't!! When we look into the Word of God, we see that Jesus himself, went to the fringes of society... he ate with tax collectors, and prostitutes!  (he lived a risky life - he was also ridicules for sitting with "sinners")
There was so much more to the sermon, but at the end, Dave encouraged us - that we would grow compassionate hearts! That we would walk around every day, looking with Jesus eyes!

I have often prayed exactly this before - that God would help me see through the eyes of Jesus.  I have experienced this profoundly a couple times, and it left me a weepy mess.  Two times that stand out in my memory are once when we were with a team in the inner city of Toronto (also known as the "tenderloin" area, as it was where prostitution was rampant, along with streets full of drag queens, and young male prostitutes.  We were there late at night - and were there with a mission oriented purpose.  All of a sudden, I felt this intensity in my being, and felt like the lens had come off my eyes, and I wept.  I believe God helped me feel the compassion that Jesus felt for the broken among us.

The other time that stands in my memory, focuses on my street friend Barry.  Barry, who often would come in so dirty, and so smelly from street life.  Barry who would ask the ushers if they could get "Joy" and they would come and get me - sometimes out of the service - to help him out.  Barry who would croon Amazing Grace to me, and recite scripture to me.  (Create in me a clean heart O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.  This was one scripture he recited one day.  However one of the coldest days of the year, I sat with Barry as he sipped a hot coffee and tried to warm up.  He was high again.  Not sure if it was the Listerine he had drank, or sniff ... but he was high.  The holy spirit kept nudging me - prompting me to ask Barry "Barry, do you want me to pray with you?" To which he replied "Yes" and immediately bowed his head.  It was like he immediately sobered up.  I prayed.  Again there was this stirring in my heart, and my eyes were opened again, and I felt this compassion ... only Jesus could do that.  After we were done, he got up and said good-bye and went into the cold... and I wept.

Compassion is risky.  Sometimes it costs us ... a few dollars to the person begging around the corner of the McDonald's drive through (where management could not see him). ... or a kind word to the woman who just told you about the journey since her son was murdered a couple years ago ... or the person who is just hungry, and you give your fresh coffee and donut to.  Perhaps it is more - like donating money to the food bank, or to places like Mennonite Central Committee for their response to the famine... or brand new coats donated to Koats for Kids campaign.

Imagine what would happen if the "church" responded with compassion ... with more compassion.  I am talking about the "church" as each of us who claim Jesus as Lord of our lives!  Imagine if we reached out - in his name.  If we gave a cup of water to "the least of these."
If our hearts great with compassion that looked the way Jesus told us.  Imagine!  Compassion beyond measure!

May that be my prayer daily!
To see others through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with love and compassion!