Wednesday, March 30

gifts from today

the crispness of the early morning
a good place to work out with other women to help start off my day
a "cat nap" that morphed into a nap three hours long (seems my body needed that)
a chat over a hair color and cut
good thinking time as I drove to Anola and back
a few minutes to window shop
a kiss from my husband
texts and conversations with my kids
a chance to babysit tonight
playtime with my grandson
the smell of his freshly shampooed hair
watching Elmo sing "Elmo's Song"
reading his bedtime book, singing a song, praying with him and tucking him into bed
but first getting a "kiss for granny" from my little one
coffee is on
smells good
time to catch up with my husband
these are just some of the gifts from today!
thank you Lord!

Friday, March 25

"too pooped to pop!"

Before I go into today's post - I want to say a huge thanks to my daughter Ashley - who put together my new "header" on my blog.  The first picture is of Springfield Road - the one that I walked, talked, laughed, prayed, brainstormed and cried on as I walked both alone and with my family.  The next picture is of our family - taken in Anola in fall of 09.  The next one is of the altar that God urged me to build - to "give up"  "Lay down" stones that I would then mark as steps of my journey.  This altar was constructed the last fall that I lived in Anola - and many stones made up the same thing.  It is my place of laying down my life in order to glorify my Lord!! The last picture - well - you know.... it is my little grandson Everett.  I am a blessed Granny with two grandsons.  Thanks Ashley for doing this for me since I am "challenged" on the computer!

We had a song that we taught kids in daycare - it was called "I'm too pooped to pop!"  It went like this.  We would tell the kids to get curled up like a little ball - or a little kernel of popcorn.  We explained that when things got hot - they would sizzle and then begin to pop.

Then we sang,
"I'm too pooped to pop, and I'm not lying.
I'm too pooped to pop and I'm just lying here frying.
The salt is ready and the butter is hot
But Baby I'm just too pooped to pop!"

(at this point each kid would scream "POP" and jump up! 

Well.  Today is Friday and Baby, I am too pooped to pop!  Today I feel like my years are catching up to me!  (and yet I still think I am so young!)  I have worked every day this week EXCEPT my baby girl's birthday.  But that day was full too with many things including some shopping, Ash and I got our noses pierced together, and then we celebrated with a yummy steak dinner around the table at Josh, Leah and Everett's. 

I made a resolve to get going on the re-commitment to eat healthy - and it has been a week!!  YAHOO... usually I give in to the sugar craving right about day 3!  (I am reading the book "Made to Crave" and it has really brought some light onto the situation regarding my struggle with weight!)

I joined a 30 day fitness challenge at Curves and have worked out regularly!  Today I went home and changed after work - and was able to see Alvin and walk down with him as he was leaving on his night shift.  I said "I am going to go to Curves now because if I don't go now - it just isn't going to happen!"  So I went to Curves and "applied myself" to my work-out and was so glad with the results tonight.

I work tomorrow .... bright and early.  And then, I will be able to "breathe easier" for a little while again.  I love my job but this week - it was just a little much.  I think that I need to NOT take every shift that people want to give away! 

Anyhow - this has been a good week - and a week of deep thoughts, laughter, coffee shared with friends, and good times with family!  Our little grandson Everett brought laughter and joy into our hearts as we watched him with the latest achievement ... now he "signs" PLEASE. And it is sooooo sweet.  The other night I laughed as he ran to me, gave me a big kiss - ran and gave his mommy a big kiss, turned around and ran back to me and gave me another big kiss ... he did this about 3 times!   It was also a week where we were able to meet with our YOUNG care group last Sunday (we love those "kids") and our NEW care group last night, as we gathered in the church kitchen and prepared a meal for Forward House.  It was a great time together. 

Weeks are full of all kinds of things - and I am so thankful that God gives me the senses to appreciate and enjoy life fully.  But for today - I think I am just going to say - G'night.  This gal is too pooped to pop and is going to make her way back to the condo!  Thinking a movie and some supper are in order!

Wednesday, March 23

how can it be ~ my "baby" turns 26 today

Happy Birthday Ashley Marie!

Twenty-six years ago - my baby girl was born at 4:20 pm.  She made her way into the world (almost beating her dad her was parking the car!)  Exactly 30 minutes after I got in the front doors of St. Boniface Hospital, they broke my water and the resident intern delivered our little pumpkin who wasted NO TIME coming into the world to meet her dad and I.  (Yes, he did make it in time - barely... )
Our daughter - Ashley Marie.  When I was pregnant with her - it was the times where you did not get an ultrasound unless there were some complications.  I had a "GP"  ~ no midwives, no doulas, no obgyn, just the plain old general practitioner!  And I may add - no drugs - completely natural childbirth! 
I was expecting for the second time, and big brother Josh was so excited.  When Josh was born we had only ONE name - and it was the one he was given.  When Ashley was born - we had only ONE name and it was the one she was given.  With both babies - we were so sure that we would have the sex of the child that matched the name we had chosen.  God did not disappoint us in that regard - and with a daughter, her truly gave us the desire of our hearts to round out our family.  We knew we desired two children.

It seems yesterday in some ways - and raising our daughter was a wonderful experience.  Yes, we noticed early on - that she had what we refer to as the "Klassen strong-will" although I think that honestly, she came by that from both sides the THOMAS side too!  I have watched her grow and realize how much she is like me - and how much she is like her dad!  Early in life - she had him head over heels in love with his girl.  Funny how that works - out comes the little ones and the parents are completely smitten! 

Ashley loved to be with "JOSHIE" ... she is the only one that could actually call him that and get away with that although Grandma K. tried!  She would do almost anything he told her to do - and she loved to be with him in all his antics.  She laughed at his jokes, and tried to make her own - often saying "how come everyone laughs and Josh and no ones laughs at my jokes!"  She makes us laugh alot now.  From the time she just began to count - she thought the number 5 was HUGE and would always tell me - I LOVE YOU 5!  We still say that!

I love the gifting I see in my sweet girl.  I love that she is passionate about Jesus.  I love that she is able to express herself and share and touch lives.  I love that she has a strong sense of what she wants to do and goes after it.  She loves her friends - and she loves her family.  She is an auntie SECOND TO NONE!!  She has creativity and talent unlimited in many areas of her life.  I know that she is also one who gives and gives.  She is loyal to her friends and family - and easily and quickly forgives.  She loves deeply ~ her sweet husband, and us - and her friends. 

I am often challenged by her words and thoughts ~
often moved by her writings and her songs ~
I am wrapped and covered in her love, her forgiveness and her grace
I am her mom, and I thank God for that privilege, that responsibility, that gift of a sweet daughter entrusted to me years ago!

We have called her many nicknames since she was a baby...
Pumpkin, Pumpy, Ash, Ashes (and many more that her dad has)
But most of all - I call her my baby girl - my daughter, my friend
My sweet sweet daughter. 
Sweet One - I love you to the moon and back.
I love you 5555555555555555555555555555

Happy Birthday Sweet One!

love mom
5555555555555555555555555555555555 and even more!

ps  if I could I would post some pictures of Ashley Marie
but as I am doing this on the free internet at Mountain Bean - it does not allow me to

Wednesday, March 16

thankful in March!

Today is the 16th of March.  My mom (oh how I miss her!) would have been 89 today.  She was the most amazing mother in the world (oh how I wish to be more like my mom!) and I can still see her sweet sweet smile, and hear her gentle voice telling me "Honey, it's going to be okay."  I wish she was here still.  Somehow, 15 years seems like yesterday.  But then again, with her diabetes, and all of its involvement, as well as her blindness ... I just have to keep remembering that our loss was really Mom's gain and she is dancing in Heaven!!  I hope that today - she got to celebrate although I am thinking that in heaven, every day will be a wonderful one!  Mom - happy birthday!  I sure do love you and miss you.  It is my prayer that God would make me more like you - gentle, loving, kind, generous, giving... the list goes on. 

Today was a grey dreary day - but very spring-like.  The cars are dirty, dirty DIRTY!!  The gravel on the roads (left by the melting snow) is a sure sign of spring clean up to come!! I love Spring and look forward to the newness of life! 

Today, I got to hold the hands of about 80 high school kids!! At work, I went to a highschool and "typed" kids from 8:30 until 3:30 during 4 classes, while they listened to a presentation on Canadian Blood Services and why you really need to donate if you can.  Each typing takes about 2-3 minutes.  I had big hands, little hands, icy cold hands and warm hands.  Some kids (after the needle pricking) bled easily and others had fingers that had to be squeezed to get enough blood to mix with the antigens to get the reading.  I got to talk with the kids (I love that part) and to joke with them.  I got to work with two volunteers with CBS that I have not met prior.  It was a good day - but a long one.  I was glad to get home in time to kiss my man as we passed one another in the hall.... he was off to work nights.  I love that guy.

Today I felt tired.  I guess this body is still trying to catch up with the life we have led lately.  We moved.  Yep - one more time.  We are temporarily living now, in Alvin's mom's condo.  She passed away in late October and we are going to sell her condo - but in the meantime have the okay from the family to live there.  Not sure how long.  Part of me likes it.... part of me can hardly wait till I am moved into our new place.  If you have gotten to know me well - you know that I am a combo of "flying by the seat of my pants" but still liking to have at least SOME "ducks in a row."  Well .... these days - the ducks - well - I can't even FIND them, let alone get them lined up.  And well - it's okay.  As long as I can get a good nights sleep - all is well.  I am thankful that Alvin and I are good with that... at least for now.

Moving day - well - how is it that the LITTLE bit of stuff we did have in our kids loft - it seemed to have multiplied.  Man I hate junk more and more with every move.  Honestly.  Enough said.  We are so thankful that we have amazing friends and kids who are there to help us leading up to the weekend, and then on Saturday Kim and Kevin, Lloyd and Judy came bright and early - and then Willy joined us at the new loft as we dragged stuff into storage there.  (at mom's we just took our groceries and clothes).  FRIENDS.... we could not live without them.  (not to mention that later Kim also fed us and we hung out for a while!)  Thank you Lord for good friends!

WHile moving was inevitable (since our kids moved) ... it means that we don't see our grandson as much.  That is the hardest part for me.  It was a gift to be next door.  I hope we never abused that privilege (I don't think we ever did) ... and we did not take it for granted.  I get to spend time at their place tomorrow - and I can hardly wait!  Our little Everett - continues to bring life to our beings!  I love our family - our kids... our grandsons.... we thank God for each one of our gang.  We are so blessed.

I am still trying to bring some type of balance to my life.  Possible you think?  Not sure.  I believe it is.  At least "balance" in the way that I can live fully TODAY without being caught up in yesterday or tomorrow.  I want to enjoy each moment of today.  I am still struggling with trying to get my Quiet Time (my time with God) in each morning... and my exercise too.  Those are important to me - and only help in my continued struggle with my weight stuff!! (yes, you hear that ongoing in my blog don't you).  With working shifts - I just find it hard to have a routine!  I like some routines.  But I will persevere and try to figure this out!

Tonight before I went to curves I laid down for "40 winks" as my dad used to say.  And it turned into about an hour.  But... what an hour.  I woke up quite disturbed.  I had a dream and the people that came into my dream ranged from my family members - to someone who has been part of my circle of friends in the past but is no longer - to someone whom I love dearly as a friend but haven't connected with in a very long time.  The combination of people - and events - and things said in my dream ... I woke up in somewhat of a frenzy - only realizing it was "just a dream" and not reality.  However - it stayed with me..... and I realize that I am STILL trying to "sort out" the hurts that we are carrying for past two years - which obviously are still tucked away.  Man, that is a hard thing.  As my counsellor and I have talked - forgiveness is a process - and things MAY NEVER be the same again with people - or it may take a while. 

So today has been all over the map.  Actually my life has!  But - that being said - I wake up every morning and I am thankful for "another day of grace" that my God has given.  I am thankful for each new sunrise - for the reminders of family and friends throughout my day.  I am thankful for soft pillow for my weary head - for spring clean up for dreary gravel laden roads.  I am thankful for a place to live temporarily - that still reminds us of our dear Mom Klassen.  I am thankful for YOUTH of today - and for volunteers who make our jobs so much easier.  I am thankful for my kids who are amazing adults - and I am so proud of them.  I am so thankful for my Grandsons who have made me into the proudest Granny ever... I just wish I could watch my little Grandson Jay grow up ... but I know that my Mom is enjoying her great grandson in Heaven.  I am thankful for parents who raised me and who left a rich legacy for us.  I am thankful for friends who help us move - for friends who have us over for late night coffees (Betty and Willy those crepes at 11 pm were amazing!!) I am thankful for my man Alvin who continually makes me laugh and helps me to live life sometimes a little more fully than I want!!  I am thankful for a God who has given me life - and the enjoyment of each day and the promise of life eternal!  In general - I am tired but truly truly thankful. 

I also just realized that this time in 2006, it was truly but for the grace of God - speaking to my sister to run over to see my on her lunch break and NOT to wait till after work - and finding me in the condition I was in - behind the curtain in my room in the hospital .... this time 5 years ago, when she found me - my oxgen level was down to 40%, my lips and fingers were blue.... I sometimes think - what if she had just "pushed away" the nudging... obviously God had a purpose for me to live!  That continues to stop me in my tracks.  I am so thankful for a sister who listened to the nudging of God - and came running even though she had no clue I was in distress!!  Man, I do have alot to thank GOD for DON'T I??

Oh .... and since I am here at Mountain Bean posting this - I am just really really thankful for this big mug of great coffee - and a place to sit and get free internet.

In general.  I am THANKFUL!  Thank you Lord!  "BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME BLESS HIS HOLY NAME.  BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL AND FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS ...."  Psalm 103: 1 - 5  (read the rest for yourself - you too will be THANKFUL!!)

Saturday, March 5

a wonderful thing this workplace of mine!

So yesterday I went to a potluck/staff meeting combination at my work place.  And even though it was planned for 4 pm on a Friday Evening (you have to know that I very rarely agree to anything individually if my husband is home on a Friday evening) it actually was f-u-n.  Normally anytime you combine business with pleasure - the "business" part is always the top-heavy portion and the food thrown either as a way to entice people to come to the meeting, or as a buffer, or as a way to foster "community" building. 

Anyhow - it was nice to come to work after hours and NOT have to pay for parking!!  (bonus!)  It was also nice to get to know co-workers better in a different setting.  When I started, I was told that it was one of the best jobs in the world.  Now I knew that not every job could be listed this way but I will tell you - this job is definitely one of the best in the world.  WHY?  Let me list a few reasons:
  • I get to work with amazing co-workers.  I have already come to see the unique and different personalities of each one, and at this point I have worked with all but one other Donor Services Rep (aka DSR) and I get to do that next week.
  • I was mentored with gentleness, kindness, love and grace.  Lynn was my first "mentor" who taught me the ins and outs of the system.  We laughed alot together and I love that.  Rose was my next "mentor" who took me through some of the most busiest days I have experienced (a day before Christmas was my first day "alone" and it was absolutely crazy and Rose was working reception that day - and well - she was so encouraging/affirming and I got through!)  I have also learned alot from the other DSR's and so each day has been good.  I also had a day when I felt really really bad.  I was working reception - and the charge nurse had told me that we would stop walk-ins as it was very very backed  up and the waiting time was about 1.5 hours. (compared to 45 min to an hour start to finish time).  But then the DSR came to give me my break and I rushed out for that (it had been a very busy day and I really valued my break that day) and I forgot to tell her the news that we could not take any walk-ins.  SO during the break, she took 3 more.... and well - it was only 3 but that really wasn't the point.  The point was that walk-ins were STOPPED regardless of whether it was 1 or 3 or 10!  AND I FORGOT TO TELL HER.  So, I felt incredibly bad when she told me she had been given a little talking to - and then as I settled back into the chair, the charge nurse came and talked with me.  FOR ME ~ the way she did this made the biggest impact.  (although it didn't really matter how she told me - when you feel bad, you feel B-A-D)  So over the next week - I looked to see if this particular nurse was working - and it was about 2 weeks later we finally worked together and I got to speak to her the words that were in my heart.  I told her that I had felt SO BAD that day for forgetting to pass the message on, and that I was so sorry about that BUT I also thanked her for being so gracious with me.  You see - she didn't have to be ... but her words, her body language spoke GRACE.  Let me tell you - not everyone does that or even understands grace.  But her grace to me spoke loud and clear.  I think when I told her this, it took her a little off guard, but I could tell it was a good thing and we chatted a little, and it was a good moment.
  • I get to work with tons of people!!  When I had resigned from my pastoral position and took a year off - that resignation was necessary.  BUT I missed interacting with people.  SO this job has me speaking with people, greeting them, putting them at ease, joking with them, hearing their stories etc.    I have met people I know from the past - like the one woman who looked at me and said - "Were you Sunshine the counsellor from Faith Bible Camp?" and when I looked at her I realized yes, I was HER counsellor.... now that was about 35 years ago!!  It is amazing what you hear when you are checking people in to donate!  I love the people. 
  • I get to leave work at work.  There is something about this that I do appreciate!
  • there is laughter!  I don't think I laugh as much as when I work with Rose and Lynn.  Honestly - it is just plain FUN.  (even in the craziest of times!) 
  • I am learning SO MUCH!!  I just can't say all that I have learned and have YET to learn!  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!   lol
  • I get to see and go places!  I have been in more schools and churches and community clubs than I would have thought.  I have done one two day trip out of Winnipeg, and have a 3 day trip to Fort Francis coming up.  I am seeing little communities that I have not been in ever, or for a while. 
  • I work with amazing VOLUNTEERS!!  Honestly, I think Canadian Blood Services has some great volunteers.  I know from my work within church that volunteers are SO IMPORTANT to how things are successful or not.  Thank goodness for people who still choose to volunteer their time!!
  • I have wonderful staff "over me" that really seem to care about how I am, how it is going, and about the job in particular.  And, they are very personable, and love to laugh too!  But they are also very good at helping us understand why we do and how we do things.  I am so thankful.
  • I have to say that our receptionist (her name is PINA) is second to none!!  If you come in to donate - you will find out for yourself why I think Pina is amazing.  Good with people, great personality, caring, compassionate, efficient and fun. 
I just really thank God for this job - honestly it is a gift from God.  The way I found it two days after I donated and said to my husband "I think I could do that job" ... and then by chance looked at the gov of Canada job bank and found it!!  The way I interviewed, and then didn't hear, and told my hairdresser that "well I guess it wasn't God's timing for me to get this job" and then not even ten minutes later got a call as I was sitting with a bag over my hair color, telling me they wanted to offer me the job.  The way that I was worried about HOW I would take a job with Mom being so sick and dying.... and then getting the call two days after Mom died.  All of these things I would say (if you know me well) are GOD-things!!
Which is why without a shadow of a doubt, I say - this job is a GIFT FROM GOD.

So last night as I looked over the people I work with ... as we ate together... as we talked over the business together... as we played games together just for fun... I knew I was in the right place for this time - and I really really am thankful!

I can't end this without putting in a plug for Canadian Blood Services - if you have never donated, please consider doing so.  As I was telling Alvin this morning (yep, working on that man to donate!) I said I am type B- and only 1.6% have blood like mine.  To which he replied "You are a pretty rare type" to which I replied for fun "Yep in more ways than one!!"  BUT all joking aside - being rare makes me even more thankful that there are people who donate so that if anything happened - there is blood for me.  (Hopefully I never need it - but other B-'s do!)  SO.... if you think you would like to donate - GET IN THERE!!!  I could even help you book an appointment!!   

Like the slogan goes - "Blood.  It's in you to give!"      Hope to see YOU soon.  (And hey - if you are reading this and you are a firefighter, paramedic or police officer - there is a challenge going on right now for the month of March!!) And no, I do not get paid for this advertisement!!