Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Word of Encouragement

By Belinda (but not really)

A call to a friend who has dubbed me her Sanity Committee. Her friend answered the phone and called her from another room saying that it was the Sanitary Committee on the phone. Boy did she get that wrong--although maybe not--I did wash my dishwasher filter yesterday! :)

A few people call me their Sanity Committee (because I'm a type B person with all type A friends!) but I don't actually get called on very often. I'm like a big round red Fire Alarm in a glass cabinet--there for an emergency. And when someone actually wants to break the glass it is scary. I know I don't have anything but God and it's at such a moment that this becomes as clear as a freshly squeegied windshield.

So I listened; hard; and then said, "Can I pray?" And as I prayed, something I'd read this week was playing around the edges of my thoughts. Where did I read it? Was it the great book I'm reading right now, Leading from the Second Chair? I sighed as I remembered I'd left it behind in my briefcase at work. But no, it was coming back to me now, it was in my Life Application Study Bible; a character study on King Saul. That was where I'd read lines that I'd underlined and reread several times this week. I don't know who wrote the commentary, but the words encouraged me, and they encouraged the friend who broke the glass on the fire alarm, so I share them here: 

"From Saul we learn that while our strengths and abilities make us useful, it is
our weaknesses that make us usable. Our skills and talents make us tools, but
our failures and shortcomings remind us that we need a Craftsman in control of
our lives. Whatever we accomplish on our own is only a hint of what God could do
through our lives. Does he control your life?"

And as I said to my friend (and to myself) "God bless you as you surrender your weaknesses to him. He will do amazing things through them."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Ultimate Filter

By Belinda

The light on the dishwasher beamed green, the signal that it had a clean load of dishes ready for unloading. In my morning preparations for work every minute counts, so while my cream of wheat (with chopped apricots) heated in the microwave, I opened the door and reached in towards the row of white Corelle cereal bowls.

I noticed a mark on the top of a couple of them, and gave the marks a rub. Maybe I had dripped coffee on my way to the counter, I thought. But as I pulled them out I noticed tiny specks of dried on food residue here and there. Yuck!

From experience I knew exactly what to do--check the filter. Sure enough, as I twisted and unlocked it, and pulled it up from the bottom of the dishwasher, I could see that the fine mesh sides of the cylinder were blocked by food residue. Double yuck!

I turned on the tap and filled the sink with hot soapy water and scrubbed gently to clean away the grease and goop. A quick rinse and it was pristine, ready to ensure that the next load of dishes would sparkle.

The microwave beeped and I sat down with Paul to eat the cream of wheat (with apricots. :)) Our conversation was about some off centre ideas that have gained credence within the Church. It's nothing new, it's been happening since the start; this mixing and remixing of Truth with a little bit of error. How's a soul to tell the difference?

Our minds, hearts and souls are like the dishes in my dishwasher. They need a good clean filter to process the ideas and "teachings" that seem to make sense but give us a slightly queasy feeling in our gut, as if there's something not quite right but we don't know what.There's only one I know of that'll do the job. While parts of the world would die for a copy of it, it sits unused or under used on too many bedside tables and book shelves. It's not a new and exciting self help book, it's the greatest story ever told. We need it more now than ever. Know it well, and we will know the Truth. Pick it up and read it for the treasure we hold in our hands.
2 Timothy 4:3 (Amplified Bible)
3For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,


Colossians 1:9-10 (The Message)
9-12Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Antidote for Computer Face

On Saturday, my brother Rob on the phone from England, asked me if we'd heard about, "Computer Face." I said "No," and "What is that?"

He explained that it's in the news over in England at the moment, the fact that people who stare at a computer for most of the day (that would include me) develop something called, "Computer Face."

Of course I wanted to know what that meant--my imagination was running rampant--and he said it's frown lines of concentration, and jowls. "Jowls??" I've got little ones forming. Maybe not so little, either! And all this time I thought it was to do with aging and now I find out it's Computer Face.

The antidote, apparently, is to have a mirror on the side of the computer, there to remind you to look up (and fight gravity) and not frown. A mirror on the side of my computer? I would never be able to concentrate on work again, not to mention scaring myself at odd moments. :)

I know of a better antidote for Computer Face; get a dog.I mean dogs make you smile; who can help it? They get ridiculously happy at the sight of you and go into throes of ecstasy at the mere hint of a walk; they are just plain funny.

 My friend Frances said that one of my blog posts about Molson reminded her of a Jane Siberry song, the one called, Everything Reminds Me of My Dog

I did as Frances suggested and looked up the lyrics to the song and they made me laugh. There was a line about reading the newspaper while her dog reads the wind, and another that asked: "What is it you want? Look at it. Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want a cookie?..."

That made me laugh too, when I thought about how it would look if people did that; just looked at what they want. Well, I guess we do that sometimes. :) But not like a dog does, with intense concentration!

Anyone reading this is obviously looking at a computer screen. Straighten up friends, stretch your neck and relax your brow, and look around for your closest friendly furry creature.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Bark Park

By Belinda

The thought beckoned like a mirage in the desert throughout a day in the kitchen pie baking. It would be my reward for working hard for several hours--a trip to introduce Molson to a place he had never been and I had only heard of--the dog park in the nearby town of Bradford.
 
By the time I finished baking, the sky was gray and glowering and it was later in the day than I'd intended, but Molson hopped happily into the back seat of my faithful old Honda Civic with his red leash attached--always an omen of good times ahead.

A chill wind with icy drizzle did not deter me. I just hoped I could find the famed park.

I drove north along highway 11, scanning the side of the road for signs as my windshield wipers slapped from side to side and turned down a side street, worried that I'd gone too far. A red van seemed to be following me. I turned off at the nearest intersection intending on turning around, and the van pulled up beside me, the driver inside motioning to me to roll down my window.

"You're looking for the Bark Park aren'tcha?" said the perceptive young man, looking at my backseat passenger. I admitted that I was. He gave me directions then drove off and I headed back onto the highway, thankful for our knight in a shiny red van.

I had no idea what to expect when I got there, except that I knew the rule was no leashes and clean up your dog's mess.

The moment I let Molson out of the car he seemed to smell fun and he headed into the park with a look of intense purpose.

At the gate a group of dogs already inside the park dashed over to greet the new boy and he was swarmed by smiling dogs of all shapes and sizes!

Molson was a bit unsure of how to handle all of the attention, but soon joined in the ritual sniffing and playful leaping at one another.

The dogs' people stood in a cluster enjoying the fun their dogs were having. It didn't matter that it was miserable weather and that the dogs were getting muddier by the minute. There were smiles on our faces just watching them.
What an amazing investment the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the local business sponsors, made in giving us this park.
I have grandchildren who love to visit the park but now there'll be a dog who'll be begging for a trip to his park too.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Out of the Twilight Zone Part 2

By Belinda

Hey friends, if you've been reading here regularly, you may remember my posts over the past few months  about my suspicions and Paul's certainty, that I had sleep apnea (see Out of the Twilight Zone and To Sleep...Yawn .) Well, I have an update!

On Monday I went to see Dr. Ong at the Sleep Clinic to review the results of the sleep study. My greatest fear was that nothing happened when I spent the night at the clinic. I felt as though I slept well, in spite of waking up on the hour every hour and having more wires and straps covering my body than I had dreamt of. How typical a night sleep was it possible to have under such circumstances? I had such high hopes of dealing with a chronic problem at last, yet I wondered if it had shown up.

To my great relief, the data collected from the mess of wires, showed that I stopped breathing 23 times on the night of the study, even though only for periods of 11-12 seconds. This, the doctor said, put me in the category of having mild sleep apnea. Paul tells me that he has tried to hold his breath along with me when I stop breathing and he can't manage it, so I think it may be sometimes longer than 12 seconds, but I was just glad it showed. I asked the doctor how long some people stop breathing and he said that for some it is minutes! That's when it can lead to heart attack or stroke.

After spending time chatting about the options for addressing the problem, Dr. Ong gave me a prescription for a machine called a CPAP and yesterday I went to choose the style of machine that I preferred, was fitted up with my own, and had training on how to use it from a nurse at the store. After trying on the basic mask, I opted to upgrade to a less intrusive and more comfortable version. I'm committed to wearing it, so comfort is important, and I will look less scary to Paul . :)

So, last night I warned Paul that he might want to sleep on the couch as who knows how things would go on my first night. He opted to do that! The nurse said that even using it for half an hour would be a good start, but I was determined to do my best, and I kept it on all night.

At first I felt a little smothered. There are little breathing things in your nose, and breathing out through them, there is some resistance, which takes getting used to. And I had to learn how to yawn without opening my mouth, because the moment you do, the air that is being pressurized down your airway to keep it from collapsing, comes out through your mouth. I had several disappointingly aborted yawns before I figured out you can do it mouth closed, kind of like trying to pretend you aren't yawning when someone is talking to you! :)

I woke up feeling refreshed and could hardly wait to read my Bible this morning. Would I fall asleep, as I usually do? I didn't! I had clarity of thought and didn't have to reread sentences as I usually do. I was able to focus so much better. No fuzzy brain.

As a child I often experienced scary night paralysis, where my brain would wake up but my body didn't. I wonder now if those episodes were connected to apnea, where not breathing woke up part of me.

One night is just a start, but I have higher hopes than ever.Why did I put this off so long? Funny how we procrastinate, or live in denial, when it comes to things that pertain to our own health and well being. I am so grateful at the possible impact on my life from here on in.  And you know you will be hearing about it. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Disengaged - The Sequel

Fridays with Susan...

I read Belinda's post of yesterday as the daylight dwindled in a campground somewhere between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie and if you read the comment I left yesterday in response, you will know that it struck a deep chord.  It was the last night of nearly a week's much anticipated and desperately needed vacation.

We left home a week ago today and then Canada the next morning, crossing over into Michigan on the Bluewater Bridge which spans the St. Clair River and connects Sarnia, Ontario with Port Huron, Michigan.  Later that day we attended a wedding in Indiana which was a gift, pure and simple.  We witnessed the joining of two hearts and the blending of two families in a celebration which was refreshing in its simplicity and joyously rich in its celebratory abandon.  I felt the reservoirs, long since dried and cracking begin to fill even then.  We left the reception between dinner and the dancing to go back to the hotel and exchange our wedding finery for much more casual and comfortable outfits including the exchange of unforgiving leather shoes for my comfortable old sandals which I should have probably replaced two years ago.  I wore them over my socks.  No-one batted an eye. It was one of those rare places where you know you won't be judged or misunderstood for simply being yourself.

The next day we headed up the east side of Lake Michigan, our pop-up tent trailer following obediently behind us.  It was a week of "disengaging" all right.  Because of exhorbitant roaming fees, our cell phones were turned off.  There was no internet access in the state parks where we parked our camper each night, and no television to distract us.  We didn't even listen to the radio or play music, now that I think about it.  We didn't discuss it, we just didn't do it...  As we drove along each day I read almost an entire book out loud to Ron.  We got through all but the last ten of 57 chapters.  And we talked - a lot.

It was one of the most relaxing vacations I can remember, even though we worked hard to set up each evening and then again each morning as we packed up and broke camp.  Our food each day consisted of one modest meal out along with a quick trip to the grocery store for bread or buns, a bit of meat or cheese, sometimes a tin of baked beans to eat right out of the can, fruit for dessert, and milk for our morning coffee/ cereal.  We stopped at a roadside farm near Traverse City for fresh picked apples, sweet and crisp, for between meal snacks.

It had been our intention to circumvent Lake Superior, but we didn't get nearly that far, and with no regrets.  We arrived home late this afternoon with a store of memories and a deep sense of restoration in our souls.  There was one night in particular from this vacation that I will always remember...

It was about two-thirty when I awakened and began to feel that old familiar knot of anxiety forming in my gut as "the tapes" began to play in my head once again.  I knew it would be a long night and that I wouldn't be going back to sleep again for a very long time if at all. By way of acknowledging defeat, and desperate to look up into the sky, perchance to catch a glimpse of God up there, I slipped out of the camper and stepped into the brisk breeze blowing off the north shore of Lake Michigan.  We were camped right on the beach at Wilderness State Park, less than an hour's drive from the Straits of Mackinaw dividing the southern part of Michigan from its upper peninsula.  It was just chilly enough that I was very thankful for the warm sweatshirt I had pulled on while sitting at the campfire earlier that night, and had forgotten to take off before pulling my sleeping bag over me and going to sleep.  Except for the whooshing of the wind, the waving and rustling of the grasses along the beach's high water mark, and the steady beat of waves reaching the shore one after another after another, the campground was as still as it could be.  There were a half dozen other hardy post-season campers but everything on their campsites had been battened down hours earlier.  Everyone else in the world, my world anyway, was clearly asleep. 

I made my way gingerly down the pathway to the water's edge only thirty or forty feet from where I'd stepped out of the camper and felt perfectly safe doing so.  We had chosen this spot on the beach, exposed to the wind after being driven out of the shelter of woods by hordes of mosquitoes which hadn't heard yet it was way past time for them to quit sucking the blood of poor unsuspecting campers for this year.  It was the wind that kept them away from the beach and for that I was grateful.  Cloudcover stretched from horizon to horizon, but it wasn't thick enough to thwart the stubborn refulgence of a nearly full moon.  Even without a flashlight I could see well enough by the softly glowing clouds not to trip over anything and to be able to pick my way through the tall grasses, keeping to the path.

I squatted on the edge of that massive lake, the wind tousling my hair, and the waves keeping the rhythm of the ages and I poured my heart right out.  I told God my Father everything I was afraid of just then and how uncertain of the future and there I wrestled with Him over what I should do.  I told him how confused I felt and how tired body, soul, and spirit.  And yes, how ashamed - and how all of that seemed so incongruent with the promises in his Word.  I listened for his response in the wind.  I listened for a long time.


I didn't see him come walking across those waves of Lake Michigan.  I didn't see the waters part and a way open before me.  I didn't hear any answers carried to me by the wind, or etched miraculously in the hard packed sand at my feet.  I don't think I've ever opened up my heart so fully nor felt so utterly vulnerable and exposed.  Nor have I ever felt so utterly safe in falling completely apart.

After listening for a while, I heard nothing and turned back up the sandy path to the haven of the camper and back out of the wind.  I settled under my sleeping bag and poked Ron to get his soft snores to stop altogether and turn back into rhythmic and regular draughts of air instead.  Silent tears escaped my eyes, and I smeared them across my cheeks with my hands in an effort to dry them before they dampened the pillow. 

"Melting icebergs," I thought.

A deep and inexplicable peace began supercede and replace my deepest feelings.  I had no answers.  Nothing had changed.  But I knew into whose hands I had just once again cast my lot and my life along with all my questions and confusions, and wretched angst.  My heart was emptied out on that shore, in that place of solitude.  It was enough. 

I slept.  I don't know what it means just yet, or how it will all play out, but I know that under that cloudy sky on that windswept beach in the middle of that night I crossed a great divide...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Disengaged

Exhausted: out of every kind of energy: emotional; spiritual; physical. Downhearted, and down on "me;" I felt useless on many levels.

I felt as though I needed to draw a tight curtain around myself, and retreat--and I did. In the room where I most often spend intentional time with God, which has been a guest bedroom since August 12th, I spent an hour with God's Word, and my journal last night.

Just stopping, I realised how very tired I felt. I knew that the next thing on my agenda would be bed. By 10.30, beneath the covers, I sank into my pillow with gratitude that a whole night of sleep lay ahead. I slept for a solid 9 hours. Apparently there was a severe thunderstorm last night, but I didn't hear a thing. 36,000 Ontarians woke up without power this morning, but I got a bit of mine back. And I took a morning of vacation time to continue the restoration process.

I enjoyed our company of the last month and a half, but during that time, and the run up of preparing for their arrival, I lost my necessary rhythm of time with people and time alone and with God. Yesterday I found my self screaming in every part of my being for the latter two; craving them more than writing, or time on the Internet. More than activity and engagement, I needed to disengage.

Late on Saturday night I prepared for a big family dinner the next day (see Time Flies). Although the rest of our family had long gone to bed, and the house had settled into the creaky sounds of night time, I noticed that I was not alone in the kitchen. A  large Daddy-Long-Legs hovered precariously over the sink filled with water and the peels of potatoes I was almost finished peeling. I willed him away, but he seemed determined to live dangerously, and he landed on the inside of the sink, just inches above the waterline...and began sliding backwards towards the water. I  pulled the plug quickly, but the water seeped too slowly through the peels and  he landed in it. After a brief struggle, his wings became waterlogged and he stopped moving; legs akimbo; wings wonky; looking like a miniature downed wartime aircraft on top of the pile of peels.

I was almost sure he was dead, but I couldn't bring myself to scoop up the delicate creature with the potato peels, so after gingerly peeling the final few potatoes, I left the sink as it was and went to bed. To my happy surprise, in the morning, just the sink of dried potato peels remained!

Last night I felt just like that downed Daddy-Long-Legs. A loving Father has dried my wings and restored strength to my legs. And I can fly again!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Small Detail to Add

Re. my recent post For Those So Moved in which I shared Dave's idea of readers sending in a cheque for $10 to encourage the pastor in India I wrote about: I omitted to say who to make the cheque out to. If you make it out to me: Belinda Burston, I will deposit the cheques and exchange for British pounds sterling, announce the total collected before I leave for England on October 19th and give the money to Uncle John, who will get a money order through Western Union.

I know that little or much, it will be a blessing. I imagine that it will be multiplied in effectiveness in India.

Tables Turn

By Belinda

My kids would probably say they ate plainly as children. Not exactly a deprived childhood, but the cereal in the cupboard was stuff like Cornflakes; Weetabix: Oatmeal--oh, and Puffed Wheat (basically air, I know!) I was a Meanie Mom who refused to buy sugared cereal. They loved my friend Irene, who would buy them Coco Pops!

Except for festive occasions, we ate lots of casseroles and home made food.

They had parents who balanced out the scales in opposite directions: Paul, who until recently kept the salt industry afloat single handedly, and who would happily live on hamburgers and fries, peanut butter on toast (white bread of course,) or large bowls of Cornflakes and Weetabix crunched together and sprinkled liberally with sugar; and me who loved nuts; seeds; yogurt; brown bread or Ryvita, and vegetables. I admit, I had my unhealthy addictions, but I naturally love healthy food.

Brenda discovered a few years ago that she was gluten intolerant and radically changed what she ate. But still, her natural preferences ran to fast food, until recently when she ramped up her focus on fitness and began training hard and getting some great advice on a healthy diet, adapted to her needs. I admire her for her efforts. She's a great role model for her girls and they are totally into fitness and learning about healthy eating.

Yesterday, as we were dividing the spoils after our turkey dinner, Brenda, with a gleam in her eye, scooped up some turkey and vegetables for lunches this week. She loves food, but not cooking!

A few minutes later she came upstairs with two small containers to offer me. "Would you be interested in these bean salads?" she said, "They're packed in lunch sized portions, but you need to know, Mom, they contain..." and she lowered her voice.

"What?" I said, wondering what terrible ingredient could be in bean salad.

"Saturated fat," she said grimly, "and I can't eat them."

"Sure Brenda, lay it on me," I thought, but I took them, and I laughed at how the tables have turned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Those So Moved

Note by Belinda

On Sunday I posted the story of a pastor in India, who is following God in a walk of faith that I can only begin to imagine; see,Faithful Followers

My dear friend and faithful reader, Dave , commented, "Maybe each of your readers could send ten dollars to your Uncle John to send along to the pastor, is that possible?"

I asked Uncle John, whose last day here was today, and he thought about it. He said that he thought he could send money to the pastor via Western Union.

Dave again wrote, "Let us know, it would be a privelege to assist the bird in the window ..." :)

So, dear readers, this is not a charitable organization and there will be no tax deductible receipts, but on simple trust, and only if God lays it on your heart to bless this pastor in India, who has to remain nameless, I am going to England on October 19th and I will get the funds to Uncle John who will send it via Western Union.

My address is Box 144, Bond Head, ON L0G 1B0, Canada

I will give an accounting of what is raised, here, before I leave in 4 weeks.

Time Flies

By Belinda

Sunday: glorious; blue skies and sunshine and just a hint of fall crispness in the air. The house full of the delicious aromas of an autumn feast: turkey; stuffing; squash; corn; peas; mashed potatoes; cranberry sauce; apple pies. The table loaded bountifully for a big family dinner; fourteen of us, aged from four to eighty one.

Six year old William begged for a visit to the park after dinner. Now, there are only so many visits to the park in a lifetime and I would never turn one down lightly, but I said that we'd see, "after dinner."  Fourteen around the table is no light feat after all.

By the end of the meal, I confess, that had William forgotten, I would not have reminded him.  I felt like it was time for a nap. But I knew that it was only a matter of time before he would return! Sure enough, "after dinner," when the dishes were just about done; like a tax collector chasing down an overdue payment, he showed up, with expectant eyes that I wouldn't even try to resist. I could stall a little though!

"Give me 15 minutes to rest," I said, "I will set the kitchen timer on the microwave and when it goes off, we'll go." And I escaped, intending to cherish every second. I sat down in a quiet room, on my own, away from the crowd, and caught up on some new posts on a friend's blog.

Boy, those minutes flew by. I could hardly believe it whenWilliam came to tell me that the bell had run on the timer. And I laughed out loud when I saw a chair facing the microwave in the kitchen.

Pete confirmed that when he walked through a few minutes earlier, William had been sitting in front of the microwave, eyes glued to the digital clock, counting down the minutes. "It's only two more minutes," he said to his dad, not taking his eyes away for a second.

"You'll never guess what Mom has William doing," he said to everyone else, "She's got him sitting in front of the microwave counting down 15 minutes."

"One more minute," called William from the kitchen.

Pete came with us to the park, fantasizing about "fixed" timers; hourglasses through which the sand trickled very slowly.

Two things I know--no matter how long it takes, William will wait--and he will not forget.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Faithful Followers

By Belinda

He's 81, but for the past decade he has traveled tirelessly: to Kazakhstan; Turkey; India; Kenya; Nigeria and Tanzania--several of these countries he has visited repeatedly. He has gone whenever and wherever the call came to preach or teach.

In between missions trips and being at home in Worcester, England,  Paul's Uncle John comes here, to our home in Canada, to rest and be spoiled a little. When he arrived with Paul's cousin Stephen, two weeks ago, we noticed that his latest trip had taken a toll. He looks more frail, and it's hard to imagine that a few months ago he was traveling across India by train at night, and preaching in stifling heat by day, on a schedule that I would have found exhausting.

Shortly after arriving home from India this time, he fell ill with an unidentified illness which has only just been pegged as Dengue fever, the result of a mosquito bite.

On Friday evening, our friend Jamie came over and had dinner, and afterwards we all just sat back and talked. Mostly we listened. When you get to 81, you have some wisdom to share and it would be a shame to miss it.

Uncle John started telling a story from his last missions trip and he wasn't far in when I grabbed a piece of paper from between the pages of a book and a pen so that I could capture the details.

He had been in touch with an Indian pastor in a remote location when putting together his itinerary, but it seemed that when Uncle John would be there, the pastor would be away. When he got there though, the pastor emailed Uncle John and said, "Why didn't you put me on your itinerary?" It was clear there had been a misunderstanding; so Uncle John arranged to squeeze in a visit so that he could encourage the pastor.

It was night when Uncle John got to where the pastor lived, and in the dark the pastor took him to see the church he was building. They stumbled over the building materials on the ground, and made their way carefully into the church--which only had walls and no roof yet, as the money had run out at present.

Inside the roofless walls, in the dark, Uncle John said that he felt the presence of God powerfully, as they prayed over the building and all who would come to worship there.

The pastor told Uncle John how God had used the story of Elijah, and the way God had provided for him through a widow, and then ravens that came to feed him. This story had given the pastor the faith to start building a church, trusting God to provide. In spite of knowing that he was following God's direction to start this church, though, discouragement set in, and he wondered, had he heard correctly? He grew lonely, disheartened and tired; when something unusual happened. He was in the primitive shower, which Uncle John said was, "Not like what we would call a shower, but four walls with some means of spraying water over the body." He caught a movement in the window and looked up. There was a crow in the window, looking at him--and in its beak it held two coins and left them there.

The pastor was amazed and encouraged--seeing the parallels with Elijah and the ravens--the very story that God had used to inspire him in the first place; but later on in the day, human nature and scepticism took over and he wondered--had this been merely a coincidence?

The next day the pastor was back in the shower when again, movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention, and there, to his amazement was the crow again, and this time, in his beak, he was carrying 3 coins! The pastor was stunned and overwhelmed by this unmistakable demonstration of God's assurance and encouragement.

When Uncle John and the pastor went inside, he opened a drawer and took out five coins--the ones the crow had brought to him. They were not of great value; probably a rupee each, but to the pastor they were a constant reminder of God's presence and promise of provision.

As Uncle John told the story, I was writing as fast as I could. I asked the pastor's name, and he told me, carefully spelling it out as I transcribed it.

On Friday night, I started to write the story, for the weekend post on Whatever He Says, but Paul popped his head around the door and asked if I was coming to bed. He sometimes does that, but often I try to finish what I'm writing first. This time I turned off the computer, intending to finish it in the morning.

The next morning, on the countertop was a note from Uncle John, saying, "Do NOT publicise or place (here he inserted the pastor's name,) it could put him in DANGER." Uncle John said he had woken up at 5.00 am, suddenly gripped with the knowledge that his name should be kept secret.

But for Paul's encouragement to come to bed, and my actually listening to his urging this time, the story would have been published yesterday morning, complete with name...God's protection of a faithful pastor many thousands of miles away in India.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Kids According to Facebook

Fridays with Susan...

It's Friday, and like Sophia in the movie "The Colour Purple",  "Ah'm back!"

Face book is a great way to stay connected with the generation behind us.  I love being continually surprised by finding snippets, however brief, of my children's lives and the opportunity to peek into the very windows of their souls every time I make my daily check into Face book. 

Our oldest, Dan, is a die hard shunner of Face book.  That tells you something about him already.  Handsome and single, he's an I.T. guy, but not even close to a "geek".  (That would be my other son.) You won't find him updating his status.  He's much more likely to be playing his guitar and fixes, builds and upgrades all our computers - for free - and just because he loves to do it!  

The rest are all Face-bookers and as I was scrolling through some of their comments today, I thought it might be fun to introduce each one to you by sharing some quotes.  I've also included one comment from my brother just because he's so funny.  It's the one in red.  (Dave's advice to us, delivered dryly, when we announced that yet another child was on the way, was, "Susan and Ron, you need to get a television.  It's cheaper.")

Beth, who lives right next door.... with five boys (Yikes!!!), two cats, a chocolate lab named Maddy, and brother-in-law Marty who came in a package deal when she married his twin brother Mike.

Elizabeth Prock From the mouths of babes (or four year olds): "Woah, Mom! Go to your woom white now and sdave yow wegs!"

Christy lives ten minutes away and is a stay at home mom to two boys and two girls.  She and her dad are planning to back to dancing classes together in the fall.  Check out the link she posted.  You'll love it!
Christy Medeiros Dad, is this what we'll be learning in our merengue class?



Emily lives about an hour from us in Aurora and is married to another Mike.  This one didn't come with an identical twin brother, though.  She looks stunningly beautiful in her Salvation Army uniform which she dons every Sunday before heading out to church.

Emily Stewart-Moore was at the grocery store looking for Weight Watchers Bread when the only loaf to be found was in the possession of another couple. Upon asking them where they found the bread they replied, "Oh here, you take it. It's the last one and you need it more than we do."...Thanks! What the heck is that?! I'm on a diet again starting yesterday!

Abby posted this about a month before giving birth last week to our ninth grandson:
Abby Stewart has officially started using her belly as a snack table... and I feel super classy about it!

Andrew who is a relatively new family man is still chipping away at his student loans. This was posted immediately after selling his golf clubs on Kijiji.  Somebody got a deal!
Andrew Stewart ‎$400 less in debt. Sweet.

David has the purest heart of anyone I know.  I don't think he has ever told a lie (I'm not sure he could) and sarcasm is something that he is not 'get'  He says what he means and means what he says. He is an electrical engineer, doing his Master's studies this year and next at Queen's.

Davie Stewart To all friends on face book: If you are using "Places", DO NOT tag me. I do not necessarily want my whereabouts put on a public website for the whole world to see. Having my photos taken hours
earlier posted by random friends is bad enough. Thank you.

Dave Saunders Notice: Davie Stewart is now at the new earthling colony on Mars. This makes perfect sense as who else would they send to help colonize a planet through birthrate but a Stewart? (Sorry for publicly posting your whereabouts David)

Joel, 21, who has never been away even to summer camp, went off to college in Lindsay on Labour Day.  We tease him about having moved in with an older woman who cooks dinner for him every night.  Mind you, she's 89! :)  He is the only one of our kids to follow in their father's footsteps.  He is studying to be a surveyor like his Dad.
Joel Stewart wants you all to know that even if you don't think he misses you, he probably does...

Last, but not least is our princess, Jorie.  She is working in a factory this year while she contemplates her future and decides what she wants to settle down to do for the rest of her working life...

Jorie Stewart is thinking of putting bright pink streaks in her hair. I want to do it while I'm still young and can get away with it :P. Any comments? suggestions? etc..

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Passion to Write

By Belinda

I had watched the evening fading fast from my kitchen window, while making a macaroni and cheese casserole for Friday's supper. It was almost dark when Molson and I left the house, me for a walk and he for a sniff. If our walk was interval training, it would be intervals of walking punctuated by standing still. But he gives me the impression that he reads the village by nose like I read a great book with my eyes. Dragging him away from an intense sniff would be like turning a page at a critical point in a story. Can't do it.

While we walked beneath a canopy of stars and I craned my neck, trying not to topple over backwards looking at them, I thought about the writers group meeting last night.

From all directions we converged on Bonnie's house: Claire, fresh in from Montreal where she has been for 11 weeks, caring for a sick daughter; Bonnie just back from Cuba; Melody and Marilyn from Alliston; Brenda, Veena and Julie from Innisfil; Sue and Vi from Schomberg; Magda and Michele from Newmarket; Karen from--I'm not sure--and me from the centre of the universe: Bond Head. We were thirteen women with a wealth of life experience, wisdom and diversity and we came to our September meeting bearing the gift of writing about Christmas.

The writing was as rich and varied as the writers it sprang from. We are creating an anthology for Christmas; something we've done in the past just for fun. As I listened to story after story, all so different, it felt as though we were stitching together a beautiful Christmas quilt made of pieces of brocade; velvet; gingham and satin. Each piece had a personality and history of its own. There was wistfulness; wisdom; humour; skillful story writing; a cultural tale or two and even a recipe for a mouthwatering cheese and onion pie! As each was read, laughter, gasps of appreciation and words of affirmation were satisfying responses. None fell to the ground as a flop, even though some were read nervously.We should have sold tickets to our meeting it was so much fun.

I've been reading a book entitled, The small details of life: twenty diaries by women in Canada, 1830-1996.I've so enjoyed reading the diaries of these women but it makes you face your own mortality to read the "small details" of lives; some so long ago. As I walked the dark and quiet streets of the village of Bond Head, I noted the houses that have stood here for over one hundred years, with successive generations of families filling their rooms. And me, a tiny speck in the universe, beneath the stars; one day I won't be here anymore either. I'm okay with that, only I wonder, with a catch in my breath...will there be writing in heaven?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Searching for Christmas

By Belinda
(I wrote this for our writers group meeting last night, as we are putting together an anthology of Christmas stories. )

August was hot and steamy. Sweat trickled and tickled down spines and hair clung droopily to heads. I explained to some English guests with a craving for bracing “fresh air,” that flinging open the windows would not help at all. After a few days here they believed me.

I got into the habit of taking late evening walks with Molson, our golden retriever. Normally he bolts from the house like an arrow from a bow, but even he moved slowly on those sweltering August evenings, with the fields surrounding our village buzzing and humming with the rhythmic pulse of insect life, and the intoxicating scent of summer blooms hanging in the still air.

With my senses drenched in summer, I had Christmas on my mind one night late in August. I pondered the next third of the year and wondered how to get it right. Maybe if I started now, I thought, this year I might find the Christmas I long for; because I’m looking for it every year—the one with the joy and the peace the angels talked about. They appeared suddenly to the shepherds, and just as suddenly they were gone, but I remember their promise, “News of great joy...peace to men on whom his favour rests.”

Jesus said of the Kingdom of heaven, that it “Is like treasure hidden in a field.” That is the perfect metaphor for the treasure that is Christmas too, for it is also hidden, covered with earthiness; the sacred beneath the secular.

The forces of a powerful enemy work to obscure it. He’s been doing so from the beginning. I mean the very beginning; when he, that old serpent, the first proponent of suggestive selling, said, “See this fruit? You didn’t know you needed it but you can’t live without it. What you have with God? It’s not enough.”

At the root of Christmas Gone Wrong; for me, at least; is the anxiety of “not enough.” Drill down deeper and “I” am not enough; the simplicity of the manger in Bethlehem is not enough; no gift I buy is good enough. The angels’ good news of joy and peace lies buried in a field of the enemy’s innuendo. And I buy into the lie; adding layer upon layer that obscures the simplicity of Original Christmas.

Bethlehem was small; the guest list hardly impressive; the venue was minimalist in the extreme. I am a follower of one born there, who lived his life peacefully and powerfully, unencumbered by entrapments, but my life often does not reflect that so well.

Dusk was falling around me as Molson and I walked home that August night. I glanced at an old century home on the opposite side of the road. The steep gable of the Presbyterian manse pointed, as if to heaven and from a circular attic window twinkled two tiny lights; one red, the other green. Forgotten Christmas lights, or a message from God? I choose to believe that he heard my heart cry and was sending a signal back to let me know.

Christmas--it’s a celebration of what happened in Bethlehem, pure and simple and that is so much more than enough. With God’s help I want to live out that truth this year and if I do, I know that I will find the Christmas I am longing for.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

                                                                                    Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia,
Note: The painting of the Bond Head Presbyterian Manse is hanging in the Bond Head post office right now., for sale. I think it's found a home!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canadian Authors Who Are Christian: Chief Joseph Brant: Canadian Hero

Canadian Authors Who Are Christian: Chief Joseph Brant: Canadian Hero

Yesterday I read the fascinating story of Chief Joseph Brant, written by the Rev. Ed Hird, and posted on the website, Canadian Authors Who Are Christian.

Because like me, many readers of Whatever He Says are interested in history, I refer you today to that story as well worth reading.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Second Fiddle

By Belinda

I knew on Friday night at the Studio Tour, that I would go back some time this weekend, and so, on Sunday afternoon after church, I stopped at the bank for some cash, and went back to the Bond Head Community Hall, where I was recognized at every table as the lady who had been there on Friday night with Molson. Eyes softened and brightened at the memory of his friendly visit and gentle inquiries were made as to how he was.

But Christmas shopping was on my mind on this occasion, and I spent a happy and unhurried hour, browsing the tables and chatting with the gifted artisans.

This is George A. Burt of Bond Head. His work is on display in the National Gallery in Ottawa, right next to Group of Seven paintings.

Each piece is uniquely crafted into a work of art and George burns his name and address on the bottom on each one with a wood burning tool, letter by letter.

His work was in demand all over the world a few years ago when it became known widely. He could not keep up with the demand. But to go into mass production was unthinkable. Now he just does what he wants to do and each item is an unhurried labour of love.

It was fascinating to handle the different pieces of wood: Russian olive; buckthorn; apple; beech; maple; manitoba maple; oak; juniper; cherry; and aromatic cedar to name a few.
These ladies, Vicky Gerke & Laura Jennekens, have a business called Echoes in the Attic . Check out their website for details of their passion for rescuing and using throwaway fabric to make things of beauty. I bought two of their cool reversable scarves with removable pins.
Just before going to their table, I visited Vivian Faith Wallace who makes jewelery. Some of her pendants were her own original miniature watercolour paintings, set in glass. They, and the other necklaces, were gorgeous.

Finally I stopped at artist Corrine Donnelly's table. Originally from the east coast, her work is often fanciful and scattered with fairies, hidden or not. Each piece is cherished by Corrine and hard to part with. She cares where they go!

I left for home with a wonderful head start on my Christmas shopping--for once in my life.

As I pulled into my driveway at home, a car I didn't recognize pulled in after me. Susan's sister Brenda, who had been up for the weekend again, stepped out from the passenger door. 

"I just came to say goodbye," she said.

But then the truth came out as she looked searchingly past me into the house, "And can I have ten minutes with Molson?"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Studio Tour

By Belinda

You can never know what adventures await in the village of Bond Head!

Yesterday evening, Molson and I set out for our walk, and we were on our way home when I noticed a sign outside a garage with a group of people inside, that said, Studio Tour.

I was curious, but carried on down the road, too shy to walk up the driveway and see what was going on. There's nothing wrong with being shy, except when you let it control you, so I went back. And I'm so glad I did. Inside were two people I had met before while out on a walk, Ana Calusic and Martin Grossi; and two of their friends. And Ana and Martin's "children" Bacchi and Mocha, were there, the tiniest and most adorable little dogs. Molson did not quite know what to make of these little friends.
Bacchi and Mocha scampered around Molson with high energy, while he stood by calmly. They let him have a drink out of their water bowl, which was, for him like having a drink from a thimble.

I discovered that Ana and Martin are gifted artists and that their home was a stop on a weekend Studio Tour in Bond Head and Bradford. I was stunned at the gorgeous art hanging on their garage walls.

Molson and I walked on after our visit with our artist neighbours and stopped next at the Bond Head Community Hall, to see what else was on display.

It was late; close to getting dark by this point and there were few cars left in the parking lot; but we climbed the creaky steps into the old hall and I asked if dogs were allowed in. "Well, I don't mind," said one lady standing at a display of her husband's beautiful wood turnings. We needed no further encouragement and since we were almost the only visitors at that time of evening, Molson was doted upon by all and sundry. He was petted by children and adults at every display, while I admired the paintings, home made purses and jewelery.
The two paintings in the bottom right corner of this flyer are by Martin and Ana.
How much we would have missed, had I not rurned back. We walked on towards home through the gathering dark of evening; he with fur ruffled by many loving hands--and I with a small victory over shyness.

It's not too late to come see the art in the villages of Bond Head and Bradford. The Studio Tour continues throughout this weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saffroned

By Belinda

Fridays with Susan will have to wait, please be patient dear readers, she will be back!

This week has been....well, it has been over the top around her house. Along with completely reorganizing her home, and a very busy time at work, Susan helped birth her 11th grandchild. It was a long hard labour, but in the end, Abby and Ben held little Logan in their arms and knew that they would never, ever, stop loving this child. Everything changed in that moment, forever.

So, it's me again tonight, tapping away in the wee hours, and thinking of the gold drenched saffron day that God blessed us with.

And I think of the dear friend who sat opposite me as I led the cell group study tonight and who fell sound asleep in her wing backed chair. Her only concern was whether she had snored.

"I felt like I landed on a soft cloud tonight at your place," she said.

Sometimes we need a soft cloud to land on, a place of utter relaxation; still waters; a place for restoring of a soul.






Isaiah 40:31 (New International Version)

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Now

By Belinda

Now...is fragrant with the scent of baking apple crisp; is gaudy in its colour palette of impossibly overdone mustard yellow; and red and green apple skins against creamy white, crisp flesh.

God seems to be in creative overdrive right now. Our corner of the world looks as though a manic artist daubed splodges of ochre here and there, while saying, "Take that, and that, and how do you like THAT?!"

And the riotous frenzy of fall colours has yet to get started.

Our apple trees outdid themselves this year and are heavy with fruit, as were our pear and plum trees last month. And I am possessed of a sense of solemn duty to use what God gives and to waste as little as possible.

And so, I left my briefcase self behind at the office this afternoon at 5.00 pm and became another person entirely this evening, up to my elbows in apple peel, flour and cinnamon, while I cooked to the classics. The recipe above is the best recipe ever for apple crisp. I thank my friend Susan Power; who gave it to me; every time I make it. It is more like an English apple crumble than a North American apple crisp. I quadrupled the recipe, which meant that I used an entire pound of butter, and peeled 8 pounds of apples to fill 4 casserole dishes heartily. My fingers don't look pretty after all that apple peeling, but my soul is deeply satisfied.

This is my happy "now."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

My friend Ang Catrambone sent me this story by Bev Joerz, and I just had to share it for fellow dog lovers. The list contains much life wisdom.
The story is about an Irish Wolfhound. My dad, once worked as a security guard with an Irish Wolfhound named Vicky. He loved that dog dearly and was broken hearted when she was poisoned. I share this in her memory.
Belinda

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The Six-year-old continued,

''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

Bev Joerz

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Birth Order Disorders! :)

By Belinda

The estimated time of sunset in Toronto tonight,  according to The Weather Network, was 19.46 hours, so at 19.30 or (or 7.30,) Molson and I left the house in a hurry, as soon as the dinner dishes were in the dishwasher, like teenagers up against a curfew.

The evening sky was a mottled gray, and the pavement wet; suitably sober for the last walk of summer before Back to School.

We retraced our steps of yesterday afternoon, when we had passed that way, bound for the park, with ten more little feet running beside and ahead of us.

As we got within sight of the main highway, 6 year old *William had called out, "Can I push the button?" (for the walking signal to cross the road.)

"Of course," I said.

"I get to push it on the way back," said 9 year old Andrew, staking his claim.
.
What is it about pushing a button that is so exciting for a kid? I don't know, but I know that it is. It can be an elevator button--any button--a kid will love to push it. They love to push each other's buttons too, but that's another story entirely.

And on the way back, sure enough, an hour had gone by, but he remembered. "I'm pushing the button," he called out as we got close to the lights.

"I want to push the button," cried 4 year old Claire, from where she rode on her sister Elizabeth's back.

"I'm pushing it; it's my turn," said Andrew.

"Andrew," said older sister Elizabeth, 12, "You're older, be mature."

I intervened; a deal's a deal, after all. "It's Andrew's turn, and if he wants to give it to Claire, he can, but it's his turn."

Elizabeth made an, "I give up," snorting sound.

Claire was happy to press the button after her brother pressed it. Everybody was happy, which is as I like it!

But tonight as I walked, and night falling fast around me, I thought about being an "older child" myself. I remember how unfair it felt: "You should know better, you are older." Maybe that's why I intervened when I could have just let the familiar age old pattern play out.

An older child is always pressed to give way to the younger more irrational sibling when they are longing themselves...to push that button; sit by the window; eat that piece of pie; have the next turn at whatever it is.

These dynamics, they shape us. Life isn't fair, and we learn that soon enough. We older kids just get a head start!

I married a second child and I think that most of my friends are second born. They are so much fun, these attention seeking, competetive, funny younger siblings. We older brothers and sisters are much more serious and trained to responsibility. Most of my fun is inside my head, however I make up amply there, for my outward conformity. :)

Susan's older sister Brenda, called me her "twin," in her guest blog post on Friday. And we are so much alike, on many levels. It was funny, the three of us being together on Thursday night at cell group, Susan so full of mischief and fun, and her older "twin sisters."

What about you, dear readers? What is your birth order and how did it affect you, if at all? I would love to hear your thoughts.

(*Middle names used for this set of grandchildren, to honour the wishes of their parents for internet safety.)

Monday, September 06, 2010


Just in case anyone is interested...here is my "thing of wonder, step saver!" (see previous post) :)

Five Children, a Dog and Some Rocks

By Belinda

I got home first after church, ahead of the other twelve, who arrived like homing pigeons soon after: Brenda and Kevin from cottage country; Pete and Sue, four grandchildren and one of their cousins; and Paul, with Uncle John and cousin Stephen, freshly arrived from England just yesterday.

I could hardly wait to use the new kitchen trolley thing that I bought from Solutions, "the organized living store," this week.

It has a stainless steel square top, with bamboo legs below, a drawer and a rack underneath, and a pull out wire basket, and it's on wheels.

There are so many large dinners at our house. I knew when I saw it a month ago at the store opening, how useful it would be.

It came in a box, and I didn't have time until yesterday to assemble it. I got out my tool box and after prying the pieces and screws from the packaging and shrink wrapping, I realized that I would need Paul's pair of hands and muscle power to help.

Together we did a fine job and were still talking at the end; even if we did end up with a wire basket at the bottom that pulls out in the opposite direction to the drawer at the top. There was no way I wanted to undo the million or so screws we had so firmly screwed in. I can live with it this way--and it is "uniquely ours."

It was every bit as amazing as I anticipated. I loaded it up with the dishes of food from the stove and pushed it all to the dining room table at once; the casseroles went back on top after going around the table and then afterwards I loaded it up with all dirty the dishes. It saved many steps and kept everything so organized.

I endured some teasing about my joy in this thing and blamed it all on my mum, who always got excited about new gadgets in her kitchen; even a nice new spout for her tap!

After lunch a grandson begged, "Please can we go to the park Omie." I can no more say no to a grandchild than I can to Molson, and so in spite of a sky that looked like rain, I said yes.

"We're going to the park," I shouted, and four more children jumped off the couch. Off we went with Molson, and three umbrellas in case of rain, which happily weren't  needed.

We were almost home when one child picked up a stone in our driveway, to a chorus of, "Mommy won't let you bring home any more rocks," from the others.

"Hey, I have some amazing rocks," I said

"You do?" they said, and inside, I emptied them into a tray and showed them off to this very appreciative little audience. They turned each one over in wonder and wanted to know which one was my favourite, then they chose theirs.
 
Our afternoon ended with Sue and I watching  Hachi; A Dog’s Tale with the children, while Paul, Pete,Uncle John and Stephen, talked in the next room. Sue and I sobbed through the last half hour, while the kids laughed at us and handed us Kleenex. My littlest granddaughter thew her arms around me twice,  saying, "I'll make you feel better, Omie."

It is such a good movie, but be prepared that if you have a heart any bigger than a pea you will be a blubbering mess.

As I prepared to wave off Pete and Sue and crew as they left at the end of the day, our youngest grandson called out from the front step, "Omie, help me pack these rocks in my pocket."

And I did... :)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Almost Heaven

By Belinda

He shot through the front door like a child let out at recess; Molson, after too many days without "walkies." For the last few evenings I've been busy making, baking, serving and eating pie! If ever there was a time when a good walk was needed. :)
 
Tonight I came home determined to "just rest," and crashed with Paul in front of our T.V. to watch detective stories. But Molson's ever hopeful eyes were not to be resisted; not by me.

It was 8.00 pm when we left the house, and the night drawing in already, I chose a different direction than usual; one safer in the dusk, and away from the main road where there is no sidewalk.  

He walked ahead, off the lead, and I followed a path I normally walk past, to the brow of a hill that looks across the fields.


 I stood there, every sense attuned to the wonder surrounding me. This photo of that very spot was taken in May, so the tall fronds of feathery goldenrod aren't there  yet, but tonight I was surrounded by their splendour. I wished I had brought my camera.

The fields sang a lifesong, against the soft backdrop roar of traffic going north to cottage country.

The oppressive humidity and heat that hung over our province this week, broke last night and this day has been perfectly, gently warm with a soft wind and showers. Now, though, standing on the hill surrounded by tall, golden trumpeting goldenrod, I didn't feel any breeze, but with my peripheral vision I was aware of the tiniest movements in every blade and stalk. I had to stare to catch them at it, like when someone is asleep but you want to be sure they're still alive. It was an eerie feeling, everything moving so subtly, as if all of nature was breathing, There was a hardly perceptible movement in the air I realized then, but it amazed me that it would set the grasses dancing.

And I wondered if the streets in heaven are really paved with goldenrod and golden dogs and if they are, could it really be any more perfect?

Friday, September 03, 2010

An Evening at Bond Head Cell Group

 Jen and Howie (with Neena in the background.) This was their FIRST engagement gift. Note the ring that Jen is subtly flashing! Congratulations Jen and Howie!!
 
 Shelby,  Hope, Brenda (the cross is on the pop bottle, not dangling from her ear as it appears) and our dear Susan.

Jamie.

 Belinda and Ann
 ...Again
Paul managed to avoid the photos and Jane, Barb, Michelle, Tippy and Tori were missing...and Molson (for supper time)  :) (Our Brenda was there but the photo wasn't so great!)