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Showing posts from April, 2008

Healing Comes in Many Ways

Job 14:1-2 (New Living Translation)
1 “How frail is humanity!
How short is life, how full of trouble!
2 We blossom like a flower and then wither.
Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.

I thought it was a discarded piece of waste paper, and stooped to pick it up. I found that it wasn't paper, but a flower that had fallen from the lovely white orchid that is in full bloom in a pot on top of one of our bookcases.

The flower had dried where it fell, but it was still beautiful, a fragile work of art. I examined it carefully, admiring the handiwork of God. I gently opened it to see the colours within; the purple and gold at the centre. It rustled in my fingers as I touched it and I held it to my ear to listen to the sound of the empty shell-flower. I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, so I put it on my kitchen window sill.

Later that week three of us sat together after cell group, having a final cup of coffee of the evening. We had watched the Alpha DVD entitled, Does God Heal T…

A Beggars Garden

I have been shameless, desirous of beauty, but lacking the means to provide it. My garden is little, but I want it to be fat, overflowing with lush plantings, rich in color, bursting with life.
Yes, I've been pouring over gardening magazines and books, yearning for that perfect outdoor refuge in my own backyard...mature trees, embraced where ground meets trunk by bluest flowers of periwinkle laid on beds of green. Flagstone paths leading from our stone patio, to the old gabled shed. Follow the grass to a small gathering of shrubs and our spruce tree, then the canna lilies reaching for sky beside. Gathered in front of the lilies are patches of rhubarb and tall stands of shasta daisies, with other ground covers creeping in between. The pool is somewhere in the middle of the yard, a silent promise of relief on scorching days (Thank you Ev!). Over to the right the swings sway in the breeze awaiting little bodies, feet thrusting out and screeches of laughter as they pump high tow…

A Shelter in the Storm

Psalm 61:2-3 (New International Version)
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,

a strong tower against the foe.

I had spotted them from the back window, drawn by the sound of their voices and laughter; two girls with skipping ropes that had been gifts at the birthday party they'd just been to. On the long spring green lawn they swung their ropes and skipped, hair streaming in the breeze; carefree as only children can be. Oh, how I love them, I thought.

Moments later they came in from their Sunday afternoon play and asked if they could have a story from Parables on the Pond. They know with complete confidence that whatever I might be doing I would drop it to share a precious few moments with them, and they know that I love this children's book of devotional stories.

And so they snuggled, one on each side of me on the couch, as we turned to the next story in the book, Journeyin…

"I am no longer your child - I am a child of God"

This picture is shared by Night Owl in response to Joyful Fox's post, "I am not my Mother's Daughter." Thank you Night Owl.

I Am More than My Mother's Daughter

I walked from the truck holding the hands of tousled 2 year old boys. He was on the tractor and shouted a greeting, "This is the first time you've come all year."

"Hi Dad", I called back.

He gave a chuckle as he watched the boys scramble to stomp in puddles and I realized Dad was right. I've been only twice since last summer, or just this once in 2008. He didn't know I would've rather not come today only "duty" and "should" won out over my aversion to being here.

It wasn't him, it was mom.

The criticism, the constant push and pull and the strain of our relationship made it easier for me to simply stay away. They come regularly to our home- all holidays, birthdays, celebrations, and the children's music recitals and events. It was easy for me to ignore my absence. This fact obviously wasn't lost on Dad.

I love my mom. I appreciate all she's sacrificed and given in raising me. I have much to be thankful for. She is resil…

And So the Household Woke Up

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New International Version)
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him."

I awoke this morning to the sound of the chipper and loud voices of male and female morning show hosts on the radio on Paul's side of the bed. Where do these people come from who are so bright, so early? It was 6.15. It was Saturday.

I wondered why Paul wasn't turning off the radio. My sleepy mind adjusted to the rude awakening and I decided to get up. I realized later that Paul had slipped downstairs to the couch in the middle of the night. I was breathing loudly, he told me. Not snoring; breathing loudly.

It was a bonus to be up a little earlier. Actually getting out of bed is the hardest part, but once out, I am always grateful for the quiet of the morning and the gift of time.

It wasn't long befo…

The Book

It has a very well-broken-in look to it. Not just well-used, but obviously well loved. The red leather cover is worn and faded, with small cracks beginning to show. The pages have obviously been handled and turned over many, many times, with only a hint of shine left to the gold which had gilded their edges when it was still new. The margins and fly-leafs, are covered with hand-written notes. Page after page is marked here and there; whole passages are underlined with blue and black ink. Particular words are circled, and there is no shortage of arrows pointing to the cross references and drawing attention to notes in the margins.

The book is almost 35 years old, presented as an award for ten years of service by the insurance company she worked for at the time. I imagine there would have been other gifts to choose from. A watch perhaps. Or a some other piece of jewellry. I'm glad she made this choice, though. What a treasure.

My sister Brenda, who lives in Kingston, sent it back to m…

God Made Me Contemplative

Ruth 1:22 (New International Version)
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Yes, I confess: I just read the book of Ruth tonight. Those of you with the Marathon of Biblical Proportions "Tour Sheet" will know, that is the reading for March 26th.

I haven't exactly been lagging behind--in a heap at the side of the road is more like it.

I don't quite know what happened, but it might have something to do with the daily reports from Paul of how far ahead he is. He is now far into June's readings; he's somewhere in the Psalms. Although I smile and nod every time he gives me an update, I find this strangely discouraging, as if there is no hope of catching up, so why even try?.

This isn't Paul's fault, it's just me being silly. Well, I've decided that I'm giving myself a shake and I'm marching to the beat of my own drummer.

God made me contemp…

Commotion on the Hills

Jeremiah 4:3-4a (New International Version)
3 This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem:
"Break up your unploughed ground
and do not sow among thorns.

4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD,

circumcise your hearts, ...

I long to have my heart ploughed deep,
A field devoted to the Lord,
The hardened clods of clay that sleep
Awoken, broken in his keep,
For him alone.

I wrote those words in February, verse two of a poem in meditation on Leviticus 27:21a
21 When the field is released in the Jubilee, it will become holy, like a field devoted to the LORD;

I thought of them again this morning when I read a verse in today's Daily Light, from Jeremiah 3:23
(New International Version)
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills
and mountains is a deception;
surely in the LORD our God
is the salvation of Israel.
As I thought of "the hills of my heart" I wondered; are they a peaceful field being ploughed and broken up by the…

Thursday Ladies

We gather at Eline's every Thursday evening, showing up when we can, any time after 6pm, usually closer to 7pm and sometimes after 8pm. It's totally informal and relaxed. Six and sometimes seven of us, all over 40, none over 60, some Grandmas and others mothers of still small ones. We have grown into a tight knit sisterhood of prayer, studying God's Word and sharing everything. We pray, laugh, talk, eat, listen, cry, pray some more and sing, often with dancing.
We are blessed, us girls, from as far away as Rwanda and Phillipines, and as local as Alliston and other places in between.

We are rich and vibrant. Sometimes we laugh until tears stream down our cheeks and our bellies ache from the effort. Other times we weep with understanding, compassion, intercession, surrounding each other, a soft herd, caring and nurturing, lifting lives to the only One, Father who knows the next step.
Sometimes daughters join in, beautiful African teens, or granddaughters, small, blonde, gig…

Technical Support

On Saturday our house and yard was filled with family; as effervescent as a bubbling glass of champagne.

The sound of children's voices and running feet animated the air.

Outside, Paul raked the debris of winter from the perennial flower beds, aided by a bevy of granddaughters and Joshua.

Inside, Peter sat at the long maple table in the back room, with his laptop open. Beside him, Stephen, elbows on table, with a school exercise book open, sat captive to a school project on reptiles.

I was preparing my Sunday school lesson for the next day, but I had hit a snag. The lesson was on the fall of Jericho and the children were to make trumpets shaped like ram's horns; shofars, to represent those blown at the fall of Jericho; but I couldn't figure out from the instructions how to make them.

I called on Peter for technical support, and, happy for a brief reprieve from the world of reptiles, he came over to have a look. Before long we were surrounded by a sea of orange construction pape…

The Warmth of the Son

Fat robins perch on branches where they chirp and join chorus with sparrows, flitting from fence to tree and stem to bush. Green leaves unfurl from budded sleep and morning dawns, the first day of a new week. Daffodil trumpets burst forth swaying in the breeze while tulips shoot forth in colourful array. Such splendor, quiet magnificence, earthly beauty created for us to enjoy and marvel at our creator.

Oh our thoughts Lord, are sometimes in such contrast to the beauty of this day. We get stuck in the miry clay. We see our lack, the consequence of our sin. We see our failings and get stuck there. Oh Lord, we serve You at times with broken and worn out tools. Is a heart of desire enough, Lord?

Seeking, longing, and waiting.

With David, we call out:

Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord hear my voice! Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, That Thou m…

Alliston Curbside Pickup

It was on the morning of March 4th that Ashna Khanna's world turned into a nightmare. That morning the 14 year old Alliston girl was repeatedly stabbed with a knife by her father; an attack that sent her to Sunnybrook hospital in critical condition.

In those few moments, a girl's life was changed forever and her family spiralled into a vortex of horror.

Her friends at school, awoke to the news that morning that left them in stunned shock. One of them, Summer, felt compelled to go to the hospital as soon as she could get there, just to comfort Ashna by her presence. In order to do that, she had to go into work with her dad at the Ontario Food Terminal in the middle of the night, so that he could take her to the hospital after work later that day.

Her dad was filled with compassion too. When he thought of his own daughter, he couldn't imagine something like this happening to one of her classmates and his heart was full of the desire to do whatever he could to help.

When they…

Me and the Remote.

Last week I said that I would write about how God pulled everything together to get Fanny moved.It was an exciting weekend, all right, but God seems to delight in revealing the details of His plan as it unfolds, not ahead of time as we would like him to do.To whit:Thursday morning the call came that a room was available and that we had to make an almost immediate decision.That moment of decision was akin to my jumping off the cliff.The landing point would be Monday evening when Fanny and the last of her things were unloaded and she was safely inside her room at the Manor and all her stuff with her.(In contrast to all that had to transpire to get the job done, that last sentence was awfully easy to write!)The first step was “how to get her there” by the deadline we were given.By Friday afternoon the use of a wheelchair van had been offered for which I was most grateful (Thank you to all who had a part in that complicated bit of the story!)Then the weekend hit.To make a long story short…

Just a Thursday Evening in Bond Head

Ontario is emerging suddenly from what was beginning to feel like an endless winter.

Life is bursting out and shooting up everywhere. It seems as if the whole earth is singing with joy at this spring.

This week I was driving back to the office from Stouffville, along Bloomington Road, when I glanced to my left and gasped in wonder at the sight of six riderless horses; two dappled gray and four brown, galloping with abandon across a field. I glanced in my mirror, slowed down, and pulled off the road to stare at the breathtaking sight; freedom epitomized.

Manes and tails streamed in the air and the mud kicked up behind their hooves. I could almost hear the thunder in the ground.

And then just as suddenly, they stopped, and two of them pranced at each other, taking to the air in defiance of gravity, dancing and jumping for joy.

I reluctantly left my roadside seat in the theatre of nature and drove on to the office where paper piles, a computer screen and endless emails awaited me. For that m…

Never More Beautiful than Now

It was about three weeks ago that it began, with a suddenness that took me by surprise. I can trace my awareness of it to a Tuesday night cell group supper, although I'm sure it began before that. The girls' bangs were in desperate need of a good cut. Due to a number of factors their mom had been unable to get them to the hairdressers. That Tuesday night, their hair hung down over their eyes, but it didn't seem to bother the girls one bit. Their hairdresser, "Auntie Tanya," had warned their mom, "Do not attempt to cut their bangs yourself." I thought to myself how much things had changed in one generation. When our children were young, parents did cut bangs, but when I look at some of those school photos I think that I shouldn't have! Samantha, who comes to cell group and who is a hairdresser, agreed heartily. "Oh no, don't touch them," she said ominously, immediately conjuring up horrific images of butchered bangs. She advised Tiffany…

Ruts and Other Mercies

It only seems to be during times of falling, that I know the deep truth of God's greatness.

When I am strong, self confident and rising above circumstances, I start to slip. Self confidence leads to self righteousness, which leads to a decline in the amount of time I spend relying, until I stumble, tumble, and after a suitable amount of time applied to self hatred, I awaken to the marvelous realization that God Himself has let me fall flat on my virtual face.

Mercy.

The rut is the safety of self, the sitting down in routines of serving me and even calling it living for Him, justifying it with wise words, yet the heart knows the rut and warnings ring to waken slipping self.

The post fall state though is one of surprise. Peace is here. Wisdom says so gently "Self reliance is a deep rut, where He is not. You have fallen though, and here is grace." And so I'm swept up again, surprised by the unexpected.
It's in these moments that I'm gentled too. Critical heart …

Piano Lessons

Psalm 150:3-6 (New International Version)
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD.

Tonight was Tiffany-Amber and Victoria's piano recital and I was there to hear them play.

Being ten minutes early at Hope Methodist Church tonight, the girls I was there to hear had not yet arrived, so I quietly slipped into the church sanctuary to listen to four sets of other children playing the duet, Babbling Bears, which I have been listening to the girls practicing for weeks downstairs.

The atmosphere was very, very serious and the church was hushed. No one said a word, unless in very soft whispers, as each set of children approached the piano, and, depending on their personality, hammed it up a little, or ser…

He Who Keeps You Will Not Slumber

I enter the double doors of the Emergency Department and hear his cries. My mother heart beats harder within me as I follow his pain-filled bawl.

I enter the room and see his curly hair, damp with sweat, face blotchy from crying. Tiny 2 year old body, still now, lying on starched white sheets against Daddy's arms. The nurse says to me, "Just in time, Mom." She wrestles to get the I.V. in his chubby left fist. I soothe my whimpering son, stroking his head, maintaining eye contact, and speak softly to his soul and heart from my own. Comforted, he calms.

I notice his right arm. I don't need to see the x-rays to know it's badly broken. I glance up at the light-board anyway and see his tiny bones, both fractured, between the wrist and elbow. My husband and I have eye contact and I continue to soothe this wee one. The I.V. is firmly in place and I learn the anaesthetist has been called.

In small-town Alliston, there's no resident anaesthetist on week-ends but the wait…

Hope for Change

Judges 6:12-13 (New International Version)
12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."


Sometimes the events that overtake us in life are mystifying; but the human race has a great capacity to be deluded and some of the things that make us wonder; shouldn't.

A couple of years ago I read a really good book by Dr. Henry Cloud, called, 9 Things You Simply MUST DO to Succeed in Love and Life. Principle number 3 of his list of 9, was called, "Play the Movie," by which he meant, understand cause and effect. This is how he put it:

"There are several ways to think about Principle Three. The simplest is to look at it …

Fanny's Final Move (but one!)

We thought the call would never come. But finally, after three years on the wait list, there was a bed for Fanny at Simcoe Manor, less than 10 minutes from our house.
Fanny and I have been friends for nearly ten years. She has a developmental disability and she came along at a time when we really needed each other. She was grieving the loss of her dearest and best friend of 35 years, and I was just getting over a fierce period of grieving some other kinds of losses. We fought hard for the kind of friendship we wanted to have, and for the right to figure it all out for ourselves. We are as firmly attached to one another now as we are comfortable in our relationship. I guess I'm the closest thing to family she has ever had, and she is as close to me as any of my family could ever be.
In the past two years, Fanny's mobility has significantly decreased. She went from tottering along on wobbly legs, to a walker, and then, after spending three months in hospital, ended up depending …

Hope (holding onto promises expectantly)

By Sue Smith

Psalm 62:2 (New International Version)
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

You alone my rock are my salvation,
My fortress where I'll never be shaken.
In my quiet times I know you're there
With outstretched arms to take each care.
Life can hit with a crushing blow,
But there is nothing you don't know.
You lift me up each time I stumble,
Hold me tight before I crumble.
Nothing life can throw at me
Can destroy my victory.
Cause I'm in you and you're in me.
When life's rough waves try to overwhelm,
I look up and see you at the helm
Of my life's ship, You're guiding me
Through life's too often turbulent sea.
And while the storms around me roar,
Your presence brings me safe to shore.
My hope is in you, my trust you see
Can never rest so safe in me.
But hope is such a fragile thing,
Depending on what life may bring.
Hope is good, I do agree,
But I need faith to anchor me.
I need to eat God's word each day
To pow…

Hope

We fill Bonnie's living room with laughter, impassioned conversation, the sparking back and forth of different views; iron sharpening iron. I love this group of women; their hearts and their minds.

As my granddaughters grow up, it is women such as these that I hope they learn from and model themselves on; women who express themselves artistically, who have a deep faith forged in the fires of life, and who never consider age a reason to stop thinking or loving passionately.

Tonight our assignment was "hope." I have learned to come expectant and I never leave disappointed. The range of interpretation and reflection that one word can elicit amazes me and as one by one the women share their pieces of writing, our emotions run the gamut from laughter to tears. There are rich gifts in this group of writers and our monthly time together nurtures and calls out more from one another than we knew we had inside us.

Vi sits across from me beside her daughter, Sue. Vi is beautiful, eleg…

Many Happinesses

They've already pushed through, no longer shyly peeking up to see if the frost and white are finished, but bravely they burst in sweetest shades of mauve, sky blue and softest yellow. Little happy crocuses, looking like candy round my rock.
And their timing was beautiful as they lavished color on my lawn, just like tiniest balloons to welcome my Mum to her 70th birthday party. And such a day it was.
After weeks of planning, scheming, secret keeping (with a few near slip ups), scrapbooking, buying, baking, emailing and phoning...it was time.
The big day came. The house had been scoured the day before, with help from my dear friend Carolyn, who worked for hours to set the place shining. Now on the morning of, my sister (also Caroline) and her daughter Tori and I got to work arranging, cutting vegies, finishing last minute scrapbook details, setting out chairs and laying table cloths on. The house was festive, dressed in white, purple and green bunches of balloons, tied to doorknob…

In Celebration of Friends

By Belinda (Who has a very early start tomorrow morning and therefore is recycling this post from April 2008!) 


"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit." Aristotle


I have been enjoying a book on CD entitled The Art of Friendship, 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections, by Roger Horchow and Sally Horchow.


In Malcolm Gladwell's, The Tipping Point, which I listened to last month, he mentioned Roger Horchow, the founder of The Horchow Collection, the first luxury mail-order-only retailer, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, as an excellent example of a group of people he called "connectors." Roger is a master at maintaining a high number of relationships.


In The Art of Friendship, Roger says, "Life is too short to spend it paddling around in shallow waters." I agree!


To me, friendship is an endless voyage of discovery, an exploration of uncharted lands. There is no end to the pleasure to be found in the …

The Helper

In the depths of my night, I struggled to the surface. A cry...a deep barking cough. I strained to a conscious state of wakefulness. I slipped out of my warm bed and pattered down the hall to a small, needy toddler. Picking him up, I pressed my cool cheek to his feverish one. The crying stopped but he whimpered his discomfort. Again the cough persisted. The distinct cough of "croup".

So many times I've bundled wee ones into cozy blankets and myself too and gone to sit on the porch to let the cool night air do it's work and shrink their constricted, swollen bronchial tubes back to its pencil-like shape. This night I wanted to get both of us to sleep. I administered tylenol to help with the fever and tucked our little bundle between hubby and I.

Then the accusing thought came, "You're not a very good mother, you should bundle up and go to the porch. You know what's good for croup. You've done it for the others." The thoughts continued and I cried …

Baptizdo

Acts 2:38-39 (New International Version)
38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

"Baptizdo
(Greek) means to overwhelm, immerse, plunge, drench"
The Alpha Course Manual

Week 8 of the Alpha Course--and there were 8 of us at our home on Tuesday to watch the video that was about the Holy Spirit.

We come from a variety of walks of life; hairdressing, a law office, a marketing company, developmental services; and one person is supported by the agency that some of us work for.

All of us come together with one purpose and that is to know more about Jesus and to know him in a deeper way.

Listening to the video on which Nicky Gumbel was speaking on Tuesday, even though we'd just eaten supper, I felt hungry--but not for food. I felt hungr…