Showing posts from October, 2010

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Here; Now

By Belinda Rob took on the dishes left over from the last round of coffee, tea and treats with friends who spent the afternoon with us. It had been a wonderful time, sharing friendship, laughter, a delicious meal, and decadent fresh cream pastries and chocolate truffle cake--a feast! Leaving Rob at the kitchen sink, I went upstairs to Rob's flat to get Bruce, and take him for his evening walk. Dark was falling, and as I left Mum, she looked at the curtains, already closed, with a worried expression. "Don't worry Mum," I assured her, "With Bruce along, no one would try anything. If they did, they would lose a few body parts." She laughed, knowing that was true, and was reassured; although I knew she would not be at peace until I returned. Bruce scampered with his short Staffordshire Bull Terrier legs, down Rob's stairs. I put on his lead at the bottom, and opened the door, bracing myself for his normal bullet-like charge into the world. A stro

Tantalizing Advertising

By Belinda When I saw the magazine at the checkout in Sainsbury's, I thought of Brenda. She is a Corrie fan and almost her last words to me as I left Canada were, "Make sure you tell me what's happening on Coronation Street." Since the episodes in Canada are several months behind England, anyone returning holds precious details on upcoming storylines. Helen Worth plays a longstanding character, Gail. This morning though, it was the "Age-defying beauty secrets" that caught my eye as the magazine lay on the coffee table. "6 easy steps to younger glowing skin." Cool! So I turned to the index and found the article. As usual, the headline overstates the information shared! I fall for it every time. I had to check to see; "Is this 'it?' Do I have the right page?";as I perused an article with no startling "secrets." I am always hopeful. :) Of course, tantalizing promises sell magazines. Who can blame the publishers? Wr


By Belinda Another bedside conversation follows the one where Mum could not remember her 80th birthday party. "Did you enjoy looking at the photographs of your birthday today Mum?" I ask. "Oh, yes," she says. "And do you remember it now? And the time Brenda and Peter were here?" Mum searches her memory and is slightly perplexed, but no; her expression says it all; she still doesn't remember, even though she loved looking at the photos of both events. "It's just your short term memory, Mum, don't worry. As long as you remember who they are--and me! You do remember me don't you?" and we are both laughing now. "And if you don't, it doesn't matter, I will remember you," I say. But even that isn't absolutely certain! So I add, "And if I don't, then we will both recognize each other in heaven." We both laugh again, happy to think of that. There, that is securely sorted! "Do yo


Hi Friends, My friend Mary Anne Swagerman, sent this link to me. I love the original Leonard Cohen version but this is beautiful!

How to Melt a Heart

By Belinda Mum's life has a rhythm that works for her and my brother, Rob. I try not to mess with while I'm here. I am conscious that I drop into their lives for two short weeks twice a year. I hope to be of support, comfort, blessing and use. It is easy for Mum to see me as especially attentive and loving and to forget how much Rob's constant support means. I remind her of how tenderly he cares and what he does, in spite of a back that is in terrible shape and feet that are flat and which hurt by the end of the day. When I do that she nods in acknowledgement and agrees, "Yes, he is so good." I guard my time carefully, this time even more so because I am here for less than two weeks. Every hour with Mum is precious; she is my focus; the reason I am here. The Helping Hands carers come each evening just after 7.00 and spend 20 minutes or so helping Mum through her bedtime routine. Rob is upstairs in his own flat after supper and comes back down at 8.00 to pu

Chance Encounter

By Belinda It was the Saturday morning of my crazy weekend before leaving for England ; the weekend when I wasn't going to church, but did. The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, "Are you busy?" It was my dear friend Frances. "Busy? Just a little!" I thought with a wry smile. "Not too busy for you," I said. Then the words poured through the receiver, all of a jumble, catching me up on all the news of God afoot in my friend's life. Here is just a snippet: It was Wednesday and Frances was at the Ganz warehouse sale with 10 year old Eden, one of my God daughters and my namesake (Belle is her middle name.) I was the one who cut her umbilical cord when Brian, her dad, gladly conceded that honour to me! Eden had been so good all day, but had lost Frances in the store, so she went to the front where they made an announcement. Frances didn't hear the first announcement because she was humming the new song we had learned as

The Birthday Surprise

By Belinda They've been friends for 64 years, since Mum was 20 and Auntie May was 16. They had jobs at Farnborough Hospital in Kent and were part of a group of young women that came from Ireland; Holland and various parts of England. World War 2 had just ended; they were young and still single. It was a happy, carefree time. When Auntie May first met Mum, she went to her room to practice saying her name. She sat in front of her mirror and said it out loud over and over; a Dutch name spoken in a  Geordie accent, "Pieternella Kaatje Janny Schipper!" Auntie May looked up to see Mum standing in the doorway, her long hair as dark as hers was blond, listening to her with a smile. They became firm friends, as close as family, and stayed friends through six decades. This weekend, Auntie May celebrated her 80th birthday. I timed my trip to England so that I could be here to be part of the celebrations with Robert. Auntie May's son Paul, whom I remember first as a li

I'll See You On Sunday

By Belinda There are some things I just can't do. Last week, for example. The days went fast as my flight to England approached. It felt a little like those movies where time jumping forward is illustrated by a calendar with the pages flying off in quick succession. The work week was book-ended by Thanksgiving on Monday and an all day Managers meeting on Friday, with meetings every day in between and on Monday and Tuesday this week, too! I don't know what I was thinking when I planned my schedule. The answer--I wasn't. I had some non-negotiable tasks requiring desk time that had to be accomplished before leaving. So in spite of the fact that my house was in a state of sad neglect, I knew that I'd be working on the weekend. That was when I decided that I could take the pressure off by missing church on Sunday morning. I broke the news to Paul on Thursday morning. You have to understand--we never miss church, and to Paul, it is the first sign of going downhill f

Some Good News from Sick Kids

Jenn Clark 22 October 07:27 Update: Wednesday and Thursday I apologize to those who are waiting for news, but I'm finding it more difficult to find the time to be on here--I was home for two days, so I needed to be with my girls, and now I'm here in the hospital for two days, and Nick is often awake so I need to be with him. Anyway, I'm going to try and hit the important points of the last two days. Nicholas slept all of Tuesday night and most of Wednesday morning, which was such a HUGE relief to us. One of our biggest concerns, as I think I've mentioned, is that he's hardly been sleeping at all. Once he woke up, though, it was a bit difficult: he was feverish and very agitated, trying to climb out of bed and not wanting anyone to touch him, crying a lot and hallicinating a bit as well. The doctors had starting trying to wean him off the morphine the night before, and they figured that was what was causing it--his body reacting to the lower dose. They put him

Regrets. Another One Bites the Dust

Fridays with Susan... The husband of someone I know - not well, but they live in our town, and their children went to the same school as some of ours - died suddenly this week.  He was younger than both Ron and I, still in his mid-fifties.  He wasn't feeling well, headed to the hospital and passed away in the waiting room of the emergency room.  It was completely unexpected. As I drove to work this morning I thought, "What if that had been Ron?"  I tried to put myself in the place of  having suddenly lost my life's partner with no warning and no goodbyes.  I wondered if there would be any regrets, and suddenly, accompanied by a dark cloud of sadness, I knew there would...  I would be thinking, "Why didn't we spend more time together?  Why didn't we take that trip?  Why didn't we talk about this or that, or the other thing?  Why didn't I say, "I love you" just one more time - and say it well enough to stick and to count - for all eter

The Power of Prayer

By Belinda Going back in time a lttle (I have so much to catch up on gradually;) on Tuesday evening I flew to England to spend a few days with Mum, but not before spending most of the day at a Staff Day Apart at work. I drove to nearby Bradford early that morning, to pick up someone who needed a ride to Jackson's point, about 45 minutes away, where 50 of us would  spend the day together in worship, having fun and a 3 hour training on Soul Care for the Caregiver. On the way I told my passenger about the Nick, the 11 year old boy with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, for whom we've been praying. I told him the wonderful news that Nick's skin is already beginning to grow back. That's when he told me a story I knew I had to share here: A few years ago his mother called him about a man who was depressed due to family circumstances. Distraught, the man decided to end his life and went to the basement and where he planned to drink a bottle of drain cleaner. The pain of the

Hello from Bruce

Hey, everyone, I arrived safely in England yesterday. Here is a photo taken minutes ago of my friend Bruce! We've already been out for two walks together. Can you see the love in his eyes?

Brave Boy

Swathed in bandages from his head to his knees, Nicholas is bravely fighting a battle that no boy should ever have to face.  His Grandma McCleary said that today (Wed) has been a good day.  He is expected to remain in hospital for at least a month.  Everywhere I go, people are saying, "I've been praying for him!"  May Nick and his family tangibly feel the love that is sent through those prayers and may God use them to bring comfort and peace to that hospital CCU...

Tues update on Nick...

Jenn Clark Tuesday's Update Tuesday was a pretty bad day for Nick and I. (Particularly for him, of course.) When I went to see him in the morning, his nurse, Anna, said that he'd had quite a bad night. He didn't really sleep at all, and was quite anxious a lot of the time. I can't remember if I've mentioned this already, but Nick has hardly slept for the entire time he's been in the hospital, and he didn't sleep for the two nights prior to that either because he was in so much pain. He's so exhausted, the poor little guy, and I personally think that that's one of the reasons his hallucinations are so bad; he's basically had seven hours of sleep (at two different times) in the past seven days...I think that would make most of us hallucinate! Anna said that she spent quite a lot of time asking him questions, trying to get to the bottom of his anxiety so she could help him get over it. She learned that Nicholas very much misses being able to go

Update on Nick

Jenn Clark Back again! i'm going to try to be brief, because it's getting late and I haven't been getting much sleep. The other kind of upsetting thing about yesterday was that, about an hour before the vent-suctioning fiasco, the nurse told me that she was becoming increasingly concerned about how low Nick's blood pressure was. On Saturday night he was put on a new sedative which we eventually found out was because they were trying to wean him off of the morphine somewhat, and this particular sedative helps to manage withdrawal symptoms. Anyway, it was responsible for the sharp drop in blood pressure, so the nurse consulted the doctor and was told to lower the sedative, up the morphine a bit, and quickly give 500 ml of saline through the IV. All of those measures got his BP back up within about 40 minutes, but it was worrying for a while there. Only good news yesterday was that the opthamologist paid him a visit, and told us that his eyes are looking totally perfect

A Call to Prayer

Nothing that I can say tonight is as important as this. Please pray for a little boy whom I have taught in Sunday School, Nicholas Clark. What is written below was posted by his mom, Jenn, who is a friend of Brenda's. Susan and Nick's grandmother Kathy, have been close friends for many years and I also count her a dear friend.  I know some real prayer warriors read this blog. I hope you'll join me in praying for Nick. Belinda By Jenn I'm not sure if this post is going to be restricted to a certain number of words...if so I'll have to start over and create a document. (Don't know much about Facebook groups.) I'll give it a shot though. We took Nicholas up to the ER about two weeks ago, because he had a very sore throat and had for several days. (It was late, which was why we didn't go to the clinic.) They examined him and told us that there was nothing wrong that they could see. This past Thursday, Jim took him to the hospital again because he had be
A great thank you to all who took the time to vote for Whatever He Says in round 1 of the The Canadian Blog Awards . My friend Dave called me today to tell me that we made it into round 2! Yay! On the CBA website, it was noted: We are using Round 1 to identify the nominated blogs that can gather a reasonable amount of support from their readers. Round 2 is where the winners are found. We also let a few in from the last-chance-to-nominate post. I will be sure to let you know when the voting commences for Round 2. There are some excellent blogs in the running and as well as the fun and thrill of the whole thing, what an amazing way to shine a light of some blogs that will bless readers, such as Holy Experience  , which I nominated in the Religion Philosophy category.

An Update

By Belinda I have so much to write but no time to do it. I am so busy getting as much as I can done before leaving for England on Tuesday, but God is so on the move all over the place. I want to tell the world about this and that and everything else--but it will have to wait until I get to England on Wednesday, when I hope to catch up. I'm taking a list with me so that I don't forget a thing! the car coming home from church on Sunday, I told my mother in law how much people had contributed to be sent the pastor in India I wrote about recently (see sidebar and click on the link for the story.) Mum said passionately, "If only people would see how God works miraculously." We talked to Uncle John in England on Sunday afternoon on Skype, and I told him that I was bringing a blessing with me for the pastor in India  Uncle John said that he had been in touch with the him by email and this is some of what has been happening: The pastor used to be a businessma


On Friday, October 16th, Gabe, exactly 10 days old, visited his mommy's friends and coworkers, who were having a break for lunch, during a meeting at Belinda's place. As he was cradled in one set of arms after another he slept soundly and did not stir. I wish I could add the delicious scent of baby and the soft downy feel of his hair, which I kissed, over and over. Lesley-Ann wore the receiving blanket on her shoulder like a pro.

Saturday's Post

By Belinda Belindaland is busy today with so much to do before I catch a plane to England at 8.55 on Tuesday evening. In my reading of other blogs this week, I read a piece of writing that was so profoundly moving that I knew immediately I would want to share it here, and so today I am sharing a link to Shannon Buck's blog, Half Soled Boots  , and a blog post she wrote on September 24th, entitled, The Ending, The Beginning . Please have tissues close by when reading, and be prepared to step on holy ground. P.S. I have Gabe baby pictures. They will be up on Monday. And I have SO much more to write about. It will all be coming as soon as possible.

He Is Faithful

Fridays with Susan... See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:11,12 Remember a couple of Fridays back when I transported you to a beach on Lake Michigan at 2:30 in the morning?  I told you how I had no outward evidence, yet I knew somehow that something had changed.  In that dark night of my soul, I had crossed a great divide. Well, I can't say anymore that there is no evidence.  It's been pouring in from every direction these last ten days.  As far at the seasons of my life go, spring has surely sprung. It's hard to wait the winter out and put your trust blindly in God.  It seems - at least in my life - that he lets things get bad enough that there is nothing, absolutely nothing left which can be done to fix it or to change things.  He waits until there is nowhere to turn, but to Him, nothing to do, but give it up to him.  And

I Also Commend to You

Half Soled Boots  a blog written by Dave's niece Shannon. She is nominated in the Canadian Blog Awards   in the Parenting and deservedly in the Best Written Blog Post category. Her blog is astounding.

Nothing is Impossible

By Belinda (shared with Lesley-Ann's permission) Tonight I opened my Daily Light on the Daily Path for October 6th  to write the name of a new baby on the top of the page. I gasped as I read the scripture verses written there. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you the whole story, from beginning to--well, hardly the end, but rather another new beginning. Lesley-Ann is one of the managers on my team, and dear to my heart as they all are. We are much more than working colleagues. She came to the cell group at our house for a while and our relationship deepened with the months and years of working together.  We were at her wedding when she got married to Jason, a man with the smilingest eyes you ever saw, and a heart to match. They both have big hearts in fact, and as well as a house full of dogs, they have freely shared their home with others from the start. They were naturals as potential parents and they looked forward to welcoming babies into their household. T

The Canadian Blog Awards

Excitement is in the air--it is time for The Canadian Blog Awards 2010 Whatever He Says is nominated in the Religion Philosphy Category, and Dave Hingsburger  a reader and frequent commenter here, as well as a dear friend, is nominated in 3 categories with Rolling Around in My Head his blog on disability issues: Best Blog; Health and Personal. Since I read Dave daily, I recommend his blog for a vote in any or all of the categories listed. If you would like to vote in round one, please check out the other great blogs, and vote before October 17th at noon. It would be wonderful to make it to round two.

A Sunday After Church

Tonight was our writers group meeting and my 88 year old friend Vi shared this piece, written a few years ago. I asked her if I could post it as it fit so well with the theme of Thanksgiving and she gladly agreed. Thank you Vi. (The cat in the story, Snowy, just had to be put to sleep at 21 years old. Vi is sadly missing him.) I'll be back tomorrow! Belinda By Vi Gann I was strangely moved by the minister's sermon that Sunday and on my way home made a mental note to finish reading the message on the back of the bulletin which had also stirred feelings in me. Lunch over--my husband and I made our way into the garden to pick the tomatoes that had turned red and the green beans that were hanging invitingly. As I picked, I marveled at the strength of that little green stalk that supported the bean. The sun shone, the wind blew gently and I knew that I would have to go back into the garden after freezing the beans. I placed a small roast of pork in the oven and out I went i

“With Each Death Done I am Onward”

By Meg “With Each Death Done I am Onward” This line comes from a poem I read many years ago – I cannot find its author. But it’s the thought that counts..for me today, anyway. I am sorting out the Christmas stuff in the basement, left in disarray in the midst of other more urgent jobs, after my daughters put on a Christmas in July party with friends and family before departing for their new lives over 2000 miles west of here. Last Christmas they were in New Zealand, next Christmas we will be with them in their new home. So where’s the dying? They are moving ahead, eagerly following the Lord in Christian community, full of life and vigour and purpose. I couldn’t wish for more. I practically pushed them out of the nest, and do my supporting from a distance, in any way that is possible. I am quite relieved in many ways to have more time and space to “do my thing”, “get on with my life”, and all the other clichéd ways of talking about a new chapter of my life forced upon me. But sti

Giving Thanks

A couple of friends have blessed me with some writing this week on the theme of Thanksgiving, so there will be a few days of giving thanks on Whatever He Says, starting with this poem by my friend Magda Wills, who wrote: Dear Belinda, Yesterday afternoon I took time on my way to run some errands to enjoy the beauty of the fall colors on a few roads just outside Newmarket. Many people were out doing the same but I ran into a few incidents where people were speeding and trying to weave in and out of traffic to gain an extra minute. I felt like getting out at the stop light where they were waiting the same as all the cars they had passed and ask if they would take just one moment in their life to stop and give thanks for the glorious scene around them. Giving Thanks Did you stop to look at God’s world today, And give thanks for it as we should? Like the Lord who created this glorious scene Who took time each day to behold that it was good. Did you stop to relax your body today,

Found Treasure by Susan

Friends, Susan was treasure hunting yesterday and this is one of the golden nuggets she found! Happy Thanksgiving!


By Belinda This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Canada is famous for the flaming beauty she displays in fall, and Thanksgiving weekend is the usually the peak of the show. The Canadian "personality" is quietly self effacing to a fault, so this outrageously bold demonstation of  unabashed glory, seems to seep into our consciousness as permission to go big, at least in one area. In this at least, we are rudely, blazingly celebratory. Oh, Canada! This morning, before 7.00 a.m., I drove home from a "post test" night at the sleep clinic. I marveled at the traffic on the highway, even at that time  of the morning. Where were all these people going at such an early hour on a Saturday? I would love to know! But we all saw what sleepyheads missed; the smoky mist rising from the fields on either side of the gray tongue of pavement seeming to roll endlessly north; and the flaming red, gold and orange trees, like glowing coals on beds of silvery ash. I am thankf

Self Talk

Fridays with Susan... " There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing ." Proverbs 12:18 Sword thrusts. We've all experienced more than our share of those.  Words that hurt.  Words that stick with you a lifetime.  Words that undo in a flash, the good that has been building for a lifetime. It's easy for me to remember the words of others who have hurt us and to understand the impact they have.  But I forget far too easily how the negative words I say to myself - the words no-one hears but me -  do so very much more damage than anyone on the other side of my skin can do.  Likewise, it is with "the tongue of the wise" that I have the power to speak healing into my own heart. I have to be careful.  My attitude toward myself affects my view of others and colours how I see them too. Is that where it starts?. Can I only be as kind and loving to others as I am to myself first?    Though no-one else can h

The Whole Enchilada

By Belinda Monday dawned a chilly 4 degrees Celsius in Ontario. Brrrr. I popped downstairs before leaving for work to hug Tippy and Tori and tell them to wrap up warm for school. Brenda had left for work much earlier and they are very responsible at getting ready independently, but once an Omie always an Omie. Tippy said, "But we don't have our winter coats yet." "What about last year's?" I asked. Tippy held out her arms in front of her and said, "When I do this the sleeves are half way up my arm." Both girls, 11 and 12, are growing so fast. I left them with a final admonition to dress for the cold, knowing that they would survive, even if their sleeves were a little on the short side. Later that day on the way down the highway from work, I stopped at Costco and saw a winter coat I thought the girls might like, so I called Brenda to see if I should buy them. She didn't get my message in time to catch me before I left the store, but

Gift Exchange

By Belinda (leaning into the archives tonight, with a post from November 2008. The woman in the story, Paula, has written her story here herself since then: see The Valley ) Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The plaque on the kitchen wall said, Life Is All About How You Handle Plan B. I smiled at first, thinking how true the words were, but they were also poignant, for the one in whose kitchen I sat, was mourning the death of a much loved husband, who died just a few months ago; a sudden separation and all too soon. Outside a winter storm was gathering strength as the afternoon drew on, but the kitchen was cosy and welcoming, with sunshine yellow walls and white painted cupboards. Interesting nick-nacks stood on window sills and

Working on a Legacy

By Belinda Psalm 145:4 (New International Version) 4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. Last week I listened as a colleague led us in devotions on the subject of legacy. In his district they held a retreat with legacy as the theme, and people shared stories about those whose influence had impacted them in an important way. I would have loved to have heard those stories, but at least I got to hear Barry's. Unfortunately I can't tell the whole story, because I couldn't write fast enough as he spoke about "Big Bob" Johnson, the best supervisor he ever had. Big Bob was the mill superintendant at the Asbestos Hill Mine in a remote northern location into which Barry flew and where he spent months working as a very young man, after university. Among other wonderful qualities that Barry described, he said that Bob was always visible, and would always ask him, "How're you doing young fellow?" Ye

Summer-Lily's Sweet Sixteen Party

By Belinda On Friday, Susan's post, Ready or Not set the scene for Summer-Lily's Sweet Sixteen party: A Wiener Roast at the Stewart's. On the eve of the party, which Susan sanguinely, had agreed to have at her place, she learned, when I apologized that I would be a tad late, that the Face book invitation sent out by her equally sanguine daughter Jorie, had invited us all over at 4.30 (hours before she would be home from work!) The preparations; which consisted of hiding things in closets and locking rooms, ramped up to fever pitch. A crisp chill was in the air on Friday evening. I changed into warm layers after work, and set out with Paul for our first ever wiener roast at the Stewart's. When we arrived, it was still light but there was a blazing fire in the pit, around which people were already gathered on lawn chairs, roasting wieners and marshmallows. There were six old fogeys (anyone over 40, including us) along with about thirty assorted teens, twenties and