Showing posts from May, 2008

A Journal of Hope

We sat together talking about "us" and the times in the past when our marriage felt like it was over. It's been almost 39 years so there have been a few times of heartache that felt hopeless. Neither one of us has been a model spouse. Is there such a thing? My journal contains scattered puddles of pain that poured out and splashed onto the pages when I felt that I had nowhere else to go with it.Many times I have been tempted to tear those pages out. I haven't though, because an edited life seems to me to be to be a flat and pallid life. For better or worse, it is my life One thing I worried about though, was Paul reading those pages if I died first. I did care about that and how hurt he might feel. But this week I read some of them to him. It was such an intimacy, to look back at how I railed against him; how we hurt each other, and to realize that we are here now, still together and loving one another deeply and tenderly and with all of our hearts. I thought it might


Thursday morning I woke up at 7:05. I know what time it was because I looked at my watch right away. I felt so go-o-o-od, and it seemed like I should mark the significance of the moment somehow, so I did it by glancing at my watch to see exactly what time it was. I sensed God very near to me. "This is a hug from my Father," I thought to myself and snuggled back in, exulting in the sense of feeling utterly loved. I slipped quickly and easily into my early morning quiet time with him, first spending some time under the covers just enjoying the intense sense of closeness and acceptance I was feeling, and then getting out my Bible to read for a while and listen before heading off into my day. Sometime during that hour, I remembered a recurring picture I've seen in my thoughts a time or two before when I was spending time communing with him. I wouldn't call it a "vision", exactly, but a "thought picture", kind of like looking at something, then closing

Of Trees and Fruit

I bought a t-shirt today. I bought it because it was a rich and deep forest green, which has always been my favourite colour, especially when teamed up with the colour blue. (I figure God and I must have pretty much the same taste, because when I look around His world, especially during this verdant spring, that's what I see. Green hills, and blue sky. Everywhere. Those are the two predominant colours in his creation. I'm so glad he didn't decide to paint the sky purple and the hills orange. I think about these things, you know. They're pretty important in my little mind. And I like to tell God when I think he's done a really good job, too, just like Shug in the movie, The Colour Purple. Yes, when it comes to the colour scheme he chose for the world he created, sometimes as I'm drinking it all in, I just have to say, "Well, done God! Well, done!" ) The t-shirt I bought today has no blue on it, but emblazoned on the front is a much lighter shade of brig

The Teacher

Psalm 78:1-4 O my people, hear my teaching: Listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from of old— Things we have heard and known, Things our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children: We will tell the next generation The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders he has done. I'm writing today of a teacher whose name is Pain. As I reflect on my own childhood, and those of my friends, this teacher seems never to have been far away. We hate to think of any children experiencing pain and would do anything to protect them from it. We want all childhoods to be safe, secure; full of sunshine and only happy memories; but this is an idealized view really. Children do suffer because of the sin and brokenness of their parents or others; the result of living in a sadly fallen world, and while will do our best to keep them safe and create happy homes, trying to avoid pain is futile. At the time it was di


A few days ago it was Track and Field day at my children's school. A day that is anticipated by some and dreaded by others. As my children prepared for their big day it was with mixed emotions. My 7 year old daughter who is very athletic like her father, had trepidation about her day, didn't think she would do well at all. My 9 year old son sailed out the door with confidence. He also gets his athletic abilities from his Dad. My youngest, who is 4, and I set off to the school at 9am to meet up with the kindergarten class (where my 5 year old was) to join in on the cheering of the older children as they ran, jumped and threw. It was a fantastic day. Races were won, and lost. Some children sailed over the high bar in the high jump and others knocked it down consistently. We took photos of the students as they took a run and a series of skips before hurtling into the air for the running long jump. There were pensive faces and grins of relief. But there was one pervasive characteri

An Alert for Lovers of Music

One of our blog readers, Luisa a.k.a. Night Owl, posted an important message of concern about some decisions being made by the CBC on her blog . The decisions will be of concern for lovers of classical music and musicians. The link to the post in question is:

Love and Fear

1 Peter 1:17-22 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth. For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, he was sent to the earth for all to see. And he did this for you. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God. Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters* because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you

Intimacy with God

I am often amazed at David's relationship with our Father God. God said of David, "He is a man after God's own heart." That He was. To cultivate a relationship with our Heavenly Father such as David maintained, is a treasure! David drew strength, power, comfort, wisdom, and blessing from an intimate, deep, and abiding relationship with God. He sought the Lord faithfully every step of the way. David was faithful yet He sinned just like each of us. When David sinned he returned to His loving Father. With a contrite heart he repented and each time God dealt mercifully with David. In spite of everything, God's favour rested on David. In Chronicles we learn that David numbered the people of Israel. God was displeased with David and He struck Israel. David said to God, "I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of Thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. I Chronicles 21:8 NASV The Lord gave David a choice of t

Wisdom's Blessing

We sat across a table over lunch, Paul’s uncle John and I, catching up on news; he telling me of his recent missionary journeys to the Philippines and Nepal and India. At almost 79, he shows no sign of letting up on a schedule that would exhaust many younger men. He has just crossed thousands of miles in India, on overnight trains; teaching groups of pastors hungry for encouragement and sound biblical knowledge. “And you? What are you doing?” he asked, turning his attention to me. I told him what I was writing and what I had been thinking through lately about having been “in” Christ when he died; I, testing my thoughts and understanding before an older, wiser disciple. When we are wrestling through to truth, that is one of the tests; that and measuring what we think or someone tells us, against God’s Word. I often bounce things off Paul when I get excited about a principle or thought, and sometimes he suggests that maybe I should consider this, or that counterpoint or thought. It’s

What a Book!

I'm catching up. A week ago I was 24 days behind on the Marathon of Biblical Proportions. By the time I go to sleep tonight, hopefully having read the next three chapters, I'll be down to just 12 days behind. Soon the people who have been pacing themselves with more diligence than I will be able see my dust in the distance behind them somewhere. And before long I'll be running side by side with them again. I'm getting my second wind. I'm running my heart out right now, and at the same time, thoroughly enjoying the race. I'm thankful for this race through God's Word. I've started to read the Bible through from cover to cover a number of times, but have always fizzled out somewhere in the Old Testament. Mostly I have stuck to the parts that I enjoy - like the Psalms. And John's gospel. Written in her own hand in the flyleaf of my mom's Bible, are these words: "Reading only the portions of scripture that we enjoy will not give us the whole coun

From My Morning Devotions...

Psalms 37:3-7a Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and he will bring it to pass. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him...

Keys and Onions

Just before I left to spend two weeks in England with my 81 year old mum, and my brother Robert, I joked with friends about Robert and said that I expected we would drive each other slightly crazy while I was there. What I see as my free, simple and uncomplicated approach to life, would collide with his methodical, careful ways. Like last year, when he had given me a key to use while in England, and then suggested I leave it at home when I went out for a walk in case I lost it! Although I saw the funny side of that afterwards, I didn't at the time. When I tried to give him a break from cooking one night and made spaghetti sauce, Robert had been aghast at the fact that I used onions. The smell of cooking onions, he said, is absorbed into every fabric surface in the house and lingers for a very long time; and worse, he told me, you just can’t get the terrible smell out of your clothes. Yes, they would smell for days, or longer. And to think that for so many years I had been blissfull

Powerful God

Romans 7:18-19 NIV I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. "Romans 7 ...I always read it in the past as though the apostle Paul was describing a present reality for himself. " I now see that Paul was not describing his present reality at all, but describing man in general when he struggles to live up to the law. The good news; the gospel, is that Christ died for our sins and our sin. Perhaps the description in Romans 7:18-19 seems to describe you, as it has me, but should it describe redeemed humankind? Lately, I think I've been mistaken in believing that. Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Surely a new reality came into effect with the cross.

More On The Garden (and a bit on spiders)

It's amazing to me how God Works. He has been asking me to tend His garden, of children, people, loving, listening, being His hands extended instead of hiding myself amidst pots of lilacs and honeysuckle gleaned from my Mum's garden, finding them a home around my yard. I love to lose myself over some new growth breaking the ground, showing it's dainty new green dress to the waiting audience of one. I'd stay there all day if He allowed, but of course that's not possible. But the funny thing is that as I've yielded to His garden plan, people have been giving me more plant life for my flowerbeds, and top soil's been on sale and my farming friend provided rich, composted manure for free. Does life get any better? :-) It's such a blessing. It's as if when I tend His garden He says "Okay, now I'll provide for yours". Thank you Father, you are so faithful! On a funny and completely separate note... I was driving home from a meeting at

Powerless Law

Since January I have been on The Marathon of Biblical Proportions; not a running marathon, but reading through the Bible, on a schedule with a group. Just as in a running marathon, we soon scattered into a flock. Some, like Paul, my beloved over-achiever, are ahead of schedule; and others, like me, are trailing behind in turtle fashion, stopping to admire the view along the journey. The main thing is that we all stay the course! To read through the whole Bible, cover to cover in a year, means reading an average of three chapters a day and our schedule has us reading them consecutively. This gives a perspective you don’t get when reading chapters separately. Now I’m reading the historical books of the Old Testament and enjoying the grander flow of story, but the same principle holds true for the letters of the New Testament, in which a thought develops over several chapters. Meditating on a few verses at a time holds blessings of its own, but reading in context helps to ensure integrity

Choose Life

This week I've been really challenged by an exhortation in the Book of Deuteronomy. God was speaking through Moses to the people of Israel who were about to enter the promised land. The people had wandered in the desert for 40 years and in order to enjoy God's blessings in the promised land, they must know God's law and obey it. "...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 NASV Choose life. Choose blessing. Wow! There is both life and death before us. There is both curse and blessing. We all have our desert experiences. Often our sin and choices keep us wandering just like the Israelites. Often it's not t

A Walk Across the Room

"Susan!" I didn't want to hear my name called just then. I was in a hurry. I had ducked into a grocery store - one that I rarely shop in. I had just left a meeting and I wanted to quickly grab some cut up veggies and fruit for my lunch and then get right back to work. There was no time for dilly-dallying today. I thought about ignoring the voice, half hoping it would go away or that there was someone else in the store with my name and I would be off the hook. "Susan!" This time it was louder and more insistent. There was no choice, I had to look. I turned to see my friend Inez, and the look in her eye told me there would be no putting her off. She motioned me over by insistently flapping her right hand toward herself, but it was the look of joy in her eyes that caused me to succumb. "Get over here!" she squealed with delight. "Okay, Lord," I mumbled to myself. "Your agenda today, not mine," and I put on the brakes full force, causin

What Would Omie Do?

It is Tuesday night - cell group night - and Belinda is in England. It won't be the same. It couldn't be the same. But it is our last night of the Alpha program, and so we are to go ahead anyway, even without our hostess/friend/shepherdess of the flock. I was the first to arrive. I saw Paul's jacket from work laid neatly across a chair in the glassed in front porch, so I knew he had been home, but his car was gone again, and so was he. The door had been left unlocked for us though, so I walked in, kicked off my shoes and put the pizza I had just picked up onto the counter. I gently moved Paul's copy of The Daily Light and his glasses off the kitchen table and began to get out the things that would be needed for supper. It seemed a little weird to be putzing about in Belinda's kitchen without Belinda there, but at the same time it felt very comfortable - knowing that this is what she would want me to do. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria must have heard me because they soon

The Best Mum in the Whole World


New Creature: New Habits

Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. I believe that to some degree we decide who we will be. Recently when I got two speeding tickets in quick succession, I decided that it was time to become a non speeder; I just didn’t do it anymore. Not long after deciding this, I was driving home from church on a Sunday morning with three friends who I had to drop off in a nearby town before going home. I needed to get home to finish preparing a big family dinner. A roast was in the oven and I was feeling under pressure and anxious about the timing of the meal. One of my friends commented on a car that passed us at a high speed. “Gee,” she said, “Look at him; he’s in such a hurry. We’re not even keeping the speed limit and he’s speeding past us.” I was shocked. I hadn’t realized that my foot was so heavy on the accelerator. This was the new me, after all; the one that didn’t speed. But there was a gap between “who” I was, and what I was doing.

The Last Minute

“The Last Minute,” what would we do without it? If we are born with internal clocks, then mine must have been set 5 minutes late. I have to admit that this is not coincidence but a bad habit, made worse by the fact that I try to cram as much as possible into any space of time. Leaving one place for another is something I find hard and typically I find myself rushing to do “just one more thing” before leaving. Closely connected to this habit, is another; speeding. I didn’t think that I am a reckless driver, but shaving myself to the last minute meant that until recently, I usually drove under pressure. A couple of months ago, after maintaining a clean driving record for many years, I got two speeding tickets within one month! I faced the reality that I needed to make some changes. I made the decision to stop speeding; that I was no longer going to be a speeder. From then on, everything in my life adjusted to that decision. I calculated longer traveling times to get to places; added in a

Go As The Wind

God is our commander. We are to be as the wind, blown by the Holy Spirit wherever He would have us go. I have many plans and hopes, ideas about how my day will go, with children, with my husband, with God Himself, and in my circumstances. Often things don't turn out as I had expected. But I'm learning that this is not necessarily a bad thing. I am under construction and as is so often said, "God's plan is not to make me happy, but holy", and "He is more interested in my character than my comfort". And I do have an abundant measure of happiness and comfort in my life. It really is all about expectations. If I have set out my wheelbarrow, donned my gloves and straw sun hat, equipped my small children with spades and pint sized watering cans, and my neighbor shows up...God has determined a different step for me than I had planned. He took the disciples and made them fishers of men, instead of fishermen. Sometimes he takes me and sets me in a garden of

The New and Improved Alvechurch Public Library

Don't miss Belinda's post below! - Susan.

A Quick Hello

Dear Friends, I am safely arrived in England, and am posting this from the brand new Alvechurch Public Library. Hey, last year Susan found a photo on-line of the old one. I wonder if she'll find one of the new library! A challenge for you Susan. :) I have several blog posts in the making, but none ready to post yet. It has been more important to spend time with Mum and Robert and recover from the flight and a crazy week prior to the flight. I hope to have a post for Thursday (Ang Cat is up tomorrow and the library is closed on Wednesday--but there is an internet cafe not to far away--I'll do my best!) Alvechurch in May is the closest thing to heaven on earth. My longed for bluebells are everywhere and the air is heavy with the fragrance of them, and also lilac and apple blossom. It is warm and sunny and so good to be here. God be with everyone "over the pond!" I miss you and love you.


To you who has given birth and raised a child To you who has nurtured another, given encouragement, shelter, a meal, a kind word, or a hand up along life's journey To you who know the pain of a barren womb To you who wait expectantly till your day comes Happy Mother's Day to all who 'mother' and know the joy, challenges, and pain of care-taking. We lift our hearts and hands to you Jesus - to fill us, use us, teach us...may we walk with you on this journey. May we serve faithfully until our work on earth is done. PART OF THIS MOTHER'S JOURNEY...JUST PASSING THROUGH He looks at me, eyes hard, defiance set on his face. No words this time but every ounce of his energy is targeted in that glare. He turns and does what I ask. Not cheerfully, not with a willing heart, but because he dislikes the consequences which his inaction will generate. I ponder the nature of this wiry, blond, eight-year old boy. He's full of youthful curiousity - so many questions, his innocen

The Journey Continues

Dear Friends, Lana-Joy sent an email to some friends and family and when it was passed on to me, I wrote and asked her if I could publish it because there is so much in what she says, that would help others. She said that if so, I could gladly publish it. So here it is: I decided to send out one last email to everyone to share how and what Jonathan and I are doing and let you know where we are going from here. From here on in I will no longer be sending out group emails to everyone unless something unusual happens. Since Jeff passed away Jonathan and my lives have changed forever. It is hard to wrap my head around what has happened and equally hard to absorb it all. When asked, "How are you?" it is not easy to quickly respond. Some images come to mind in attempting to answer this question. The first image is that of a big heavy bucket of sadness. I received this bucket when Jeff died and many of you have received a bucket of sadness too. The only way to lighten the weight of

Letter from England

David sent the following to us in an email this week. As you know from last week's post, he is in England as a student taking part in a six week study tour. I believe I mentioned last week that David is on the autism spectrum. But the following made me think about who really has the disability? Susan. Dear Mom and Dad, Although I am pretty wowed and excited about this trip, there is also this weight on me that I'm feeling. I feel somewhat sad and depressed as well. Part of it I guess is this sense of desperation that I have for the people around me. They don't know Christ, and they have no idea about the life that God intended us to have. I have compassion for them. Please pray for me that I can be a good witness for God in this place. It's very different than when I was living at Newman House. (Note from Susan: Newman House is a Roman Catholic community where David lived this past year at Queen's). How did we get to be a society that only seems to question moralit


The house was filled with family, as it often is on Sunday afternoons. But seven year old Stephen was all alone in the den, stretched out in a wing backed recliner, set almost to a horizontal position, watching the hockey game on the big screen TV. He looked like the king of the castle. He could not have looked more satisfied if he were stretched out on a beach in Hawaii. When Paul came in, Stephen looked around the room and said, "Grandad, how did you get all of this stuff?" Paul said, "It took a very long time. And remember Stephen, it is just stuff." His brother and sisters were playing in the next room with their cousins, but Stephen was pondering life and the aquisition of material goods. When Paul told me this story, we laughed at Stephen's curiosity. God has blessed us with a beautiful home; in trust. It is really his. We try to make it a place of welcome and it is a well used house where no one worries too much if things get scratched or broken. Nothing

Look into Their Eyes (The Key to Compassion)

It was a chaotic morning in the Furuya household. It began with Frances waking with a start from a deep sleep, at the sound of her teenage son Jacob's voice. "Mom, I slept in," he said, leaning over her with his flaming halo of red hair and serious brown eyes. Usually Jacob gets up at 7.00 and wakes Frances up, but on this day, it was 8.15 and he was late for school. Frances got up right away, rushing to get the girls, Summer and Eden to their public school. She was late dropping them off and had to sign them in at the office. Summer went off into the school by herself, and Frances and Eden were about to leave the office, when they found the doorway blocked by two small girls, on their way in. "You need to step aside," thought Frances, already out of sorts with the way the day had gone so far. Her thoughts found voice in a cool, "Excuse me please," aimed at the girls. Frances was focused on the two little round bodies in the doorway. She saw orange T s

The Gardener

Ang Cat's post, A Variant Garden, reminded me of this poem that I wrote many years ago. Precious flower in God's garden He has placed you in my care Bid me water you with kindness And to nurture you with prayer Tell you of the gentle Gardener With his hands all scarred with love How we'll live one day forever In his garden up above And though weeds may try to choke you And your head be bowed by storm In his tender care he'll guard you Ever keeping you from harm Belinda

A Variant Garden

I'm still in my garden, planting, toiling over the arduous work of ripping out sod to replace it with vegetables. Frank sweated alongside me yesterday, digging, grasping, pulling, trying not to put his back out. But yesterday I was privileged to do a different kind of gardening, as Nicky and I joined the kindergartens at school for the afternoon. Miss Veenstra gave me the job of helping to make Mother's Day crafts (apologetically saying "Sorry Ang, you get to see this ahead of time"). That was okay, for it delighted my heart to sit with each little child, a flower in God's own garden, and start the task. I had to trace their hands, and they had to color. Eliana's Mommy would do the cutting out later. As I traced fingers, the unique handiwork of God was evident. Some hands were large and strong, others with long fingers, another dainty, petite. Skin tones ranged from pearly white to olive, and brown. A rainbow of wiggly digits pressed on the page as I ou

Stories Passed Down...

I first saw it from the air, a snaking pattern of dark murky brown, obviously a river. When we arrived in Winnipeg, I quickly learned that there are two rivers flowing through Winnipeg. The Red River runs north and south and the Assiniboine, west and east. They meet at what is called, "The Forks", a modern-day shopping area for tourists. In the past, a trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company sprung up conveniently in this place. A trip to the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature confirmed the rich history of Manitoba. The Red and Assiniboine Rivers were used as routes to get to the great plains where bison were hunted by the natives. Explorers traded furs along these rivers and received pemmican and other provisions from the natives. We value history and seek to perserve it. As six of us toured the museum, I watched how we were all captivated by various points of interest and I thought of our visit here and why we came. Barbara and Catherine shared that Aunt Bernice travel

He's In Good Hands...

"I'm scared, Mom." He was scared all right. I could see it in his eyes and in how his body moved through the airport - just a little hunched, like he was afraid something was going to come at him that he didn't expect. We were walking through the new Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport. He wore the new jacket I had bought for him at Costco on the way to the airport in my last burst of mother-fussing before he would be gone and there was nothing more I could practically do. The jacket was the top half of a rain suit, perfect for the kind of weather one can expect in England. The bottom half of the suit was safely stowed in his duffel bag soon to be on its way to the belly of the giant airplane he was getting ready to board. "I'll be praying for you," I said. "You'll be okay. God's brought you this far..." "Yeah," he said bravely. "I'm scared, but I'm still going." David has just finished his second yea

Healing: Part 2

On May 27th our cell group will be starting a 12 week course called The Truth Project, with Dr. Del Tackett ( ) We are bursting at the seams with people who wanted to participate. There is such a hunger for truth. It seems that there is a heart cry among people today, echoing the words of Pontius Pilate, who asked cynically, "What is truth?" In the first of 12 DVD's, Dr. Tackett challenges people to probe underlying assumptions behind statements generally accepted in our culture as being "right." Throughout the series he teaches participants to think, reason, and challenge commonly held assumptions and contrast them with truth as presented in God's Word. Reading The Spiritual Brain got me thinking a lot about assumptions, especially the part of the book outlining a study on prayer that had unexpected results. The study of more than 1,800 patients who underwent heart bypass surgery led the press to ridicule those who believed