Showing posts from March, 2012

A Sense of The Holy

By Belinda

At last a moment when I have time and my brain cells are still up for putting a few words on a page. I have so much to write about; such a sense of The Holy concerning the events of the past three months.

Mum's 85th birthday was on December 15th, and even though it was  an insane time of year to think of adding a transatlantic trip to the chaos of Christmas, I had planned to be in England to celebrate that special milestone with her. But Brenda and Kevin set their wedding date as December 17th. I might be crazy but not crazy enough to think I could be in both places at once, so instead I planned a trip to England as soon as possible in the New Year and Paul surprised me by deciding on the spur of the moment to come with me on January 13th for two weeks.

Those who read here the chronicle of those two weeks, will know of the many special moments that we brought back as treasured memories from that trip.

On February 6th I wrote a post entitled: Afterglow, where Mum said that o…

Grace and Peace Abound

By Belinda 

I have a few quiet moments in the lounge of Guelph Bible Conference Centre. Soon the colleagues who are here with me attending the three day Mediation Training from Conrad Grebel College;University of Waterloo, will begin to drift in as the scent of breakfast cooking lures them down, but I have these moments to share with you, dear readers.

As I have reconnected with coworkers working throughout the province of Ontario with our agency, over the past two days, sitting beside different people at breaks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, the topic of Mum's death has surfaced many times.

People knew of her death and had been praying at work, and wanted to share their caring and concern as we met here. One by one they tenderly broached the subject and it has been so good to share the many blessings associated with her passing from this world to the next. People's eyes have moistened as many of them recounted their own stories of losing a parent. It has been an honour and bl…

I The Lord of Sea and Sky

By Belinda

The past couple of days have been recovery days. The journey back from England to Canada was tiring and the weekend full--and now I am on a three day course away from home. 

I am processing so much....God is good.

But my dear cousin Deborah who lives in Spain, received the copy of Mum's funeral order of service that I sent to all friends and family who could not attend the funeral, and she looked up the song that was played by the organist at the beginning and end of the service, then sent me this You Tube version. It is so lovely, I am sharing it here.

Mum first heard this hymn years ago at Alvechurch Baptist Church. She loved it so much that she wrote out all the words and sent them to me in Canada where I taught it to our congregation in Tottenham, Ontario.

On the weekend after she died, Sunday March 11, when I was already in England, our worship team at Hillside, led the congregation in singing the song in her honour, as she was known and loved there.

I thought while in E…

Holy Ground

By Belinda

I sit in the quiet of a Saturday morning in Bond Head; the rest of the household still asleep and the silver gray curtain of morning is slowly raising on another good day.

Just over 12 hours ago I arrived home from an unplanned two weeks in Alvechurch, Mum having died on March 6th. Let me rephrase that: Her body wore out and her heart stopped beating; she is still very much alive and with us; I think that we can all feel that.

I am overwhelmed by the events of the past three months. I must write it them down as they are filled with so much of God's grace. I hardly know how to begin, but I will yield my fingers on the keyboard to God, and begin over the next few days, hoping and praying that I do not miss one important instance of the many signs of love that God gave, lavishly and continuously; mysteriously weaving together so many details that I am left shaking my head in amazement.

In attempting to write it out, I will be retelling some details shared earlier, but now in a…

The Order of Service


Remembering tante Nelly

By Belinda

My cousin Deborah in Spain, sent me this beautiful photograph of her candle lit for Mum, which she entitled, "Remembering tante Nelly."

My Tribute

By Belinda

Today; the day of Mum's funeral is coming to an end here in England. 

I can't adequately  thank all who were praying that I would be able to speak out the words I wanted to share in tribute to her.

God answered those prayers, and although emotion filled my voice at times, I didn't choke up completely and I was able to honour her as I wanted so much to do. I am so grateful!

I will write more in the days ahead as I am able; but for tonight, here is my tribute to Mum:

As a family, we want to thank everyone who has come to share this day with us. Some have traveled a very long way and your presence and support means so much.

There are many members of our family in Canada, Holland and Spain; as well as friends; who were unable to be here, but are with us in thought and prayer today.

We are here to celebrate someone who was a wonderful mother, loving Omie and treasured friend.

The most important thing in Mum's life was the people she loved. Her many trips across the North…

Gifts from Afar

By Belinda

Rob and I are about to leave for Birmingham Airport to pick up my dear friend Susan, who is giving me the precious gift of support and presence during this time in England.  I am so grateful to Susan's husband Ron, who didn't hesitate when she said that she wanted to be here.

Below Susan's photo is one of Jane and Barb, two other dear friends, retired Salvation Army officers, who also wanted so much to be here but it was too difficult. That they even considered it is amazing to me and means as much as if they had made it! 

The Smile Goes On

By Belinda

This is the photo of Brenda, which is beside the photo below of Mum, and in which I could see her lovely smile!

By Belinda 

The internet connection I'm using has been very intermittent over the last few days, but is working for this minute at least! This photo of Mum and Dad was taken in Holland in 1966. 

 Rob thought Mum looked especially beautiful in it, but of course she was always very beautiful. 

Tonight we looked at a photo of Brenda that happened to be next to the photo I posted a day or two ago, of Mum with Rob and me. Their smile was identical. That made me so happy...Mum's lovely smile and laughter lives on in her. 

There is so much to write but this is not the time. My focus has to be on other things at the moment. Sharing photos is something I can do--at least if the internet connection cooperates!
By Belinda

Just a few of the photos of Rob and I through the years that I came across here. The first is in England, the second in Holland and the third in Canada in the 1970's during my brief platinum blond phase--actually I've had a few of those! :)

One of the Best

By Belinda

This Sunday in England is Mothering Sunday. The signs are all around: the boxes of chocolates prominently displayed in the local Co-op convenience shop; the cards in the window of a local gift shop--and the Mothering Sunday service planned at St. Laurence church. And we will be celebrating ours, even though she has gone on ahead of us on the journey. We were born to one of the best. Rob and I have been looking through old photos and here we are, brother and sister, with our precious Mum. I just had to share an image of her as we knew her in childhood.


By Belinda

I found my seat on the plane, between two already seated passengers. The man in the aisle seat got up and said, "Can I put that in the overhead for you?" nodding to my weighty backpack, and I gratefully accepted his offer. "And what about your coat, shall I put that up there too?" he asked. His accent was English, so not one of the" Newark Nice," but the trend was continuing. Are people praying? I think so! :)

The flight was comfortable and I slept for several hours. The time flew by and in no time we had landed and I had cleared passport control. I found my suitcase on the baggage carousel and gave thanks to God that it had made all the right connections. 

The Birmingham morning was as sunny as Newark had been. It was 7.30 a.m. when I rounded the corner of the arrivals corridor and walked out towards the line of waiting welcomers. From not far away I saw a hand waving at me, and Rob's smiling face, followed by John, my nephew not far behind. …

Adjust Your Expectations to the Upright Position

By Belinda

I had woken shortly before landing, after an approximately ninety minute flight from Toronto to New Jersey. In between conversation with my seatmate, I glanced down with interest on the terrain below. The massive Passaic River river wound through brown swampy land below, which I since learned from Wikipedia is called The Great Swamp.  I wished that my camera was handy, but it was in the overhead luggage rack in my backpack.

I disembarked from the small De Havilland Dash 8, squinting my eyes against the bright morning sunshine and walked through a short portal from the plane to the airport, where I would be spending the next 11 hours before my flight to Birmingham, England. There was lots of time; a commodity that I treasured after several days of working hard on many levels to get to this point.

The first thing I noticed were the signs in the airport. They were bi-lingual, but Spanish and English--not French and English as in Canada. Right away I sat down to unpack my camera, …

Breakfast at Ruby's

By Belinda

I have much to say about Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, where I had an 11 hour layover between a connecting flight from Toronto to Birmingham in the U.K., yesterday, but I thought that Ruby’s Diner deserved a post all of it's own. I'm telling you, they are America's hot competition for our Canadian Cora’s  in terms of a cultural experience.

It caught my eye right away; its 1940's soda fountain decor beckoned to me from the airport corridor. The waitresses wore candy striped red and white dresses with red cardigans and bobby socks; strains of jazz/swing music allured me irresistibly, and when I peered through the window and saw the plates of scrambled eggs and turkey sausage, it was game over. I knew I'd be having breakfast at Ruby's.

When I toiled away on Wednesday evening, planning my last minute flight to Birmingham, I could have had connecting flights from many different airports. I regretfully chose Newark Liberty, because it had the shortest…

A Conversation

By Belinda

Booking a flight to Birmingham, England, at short notice on the weekend the March Break starts, took hours on Wednesday evening. 

There were no direct flights, and other choices included flying with  multiple airlines or one, with one or two stops and from various cities in either the United States or Europe. All of them had startlingly long layovers.

I laboriously droned through the options, and narrowed my choice to flying with one airline (United,) which I have never flown before; with one stop (in Newark, New Jersey,) and having "only" an 11 hour layover in Newark, before catching my connecting flight to Birmingham. All told--by the time I get to Birmingham, about a 24 hour journey, from 2.30 a.m. on Friday morning, to the same time on Saturday morning (which will be 7.30 a.m. in England.)

I decided that God must be giving me another one of those gifts in strange wrapping paper and I couldn't wait to unwrap it. The unwrapping has already begun!

I had wanted Pau…

Heaven and Earth

By Belinda

We sat at the breakfast table this morning, reading today's Daily Light--and I glanced up at the calendar  on our kitchen wall. 

The calendar was my daughter-in-law Sue's special Christmas present to me. At first when I tore off the wrapping paper and saw that it was a calendar I thought, "Oh, that's handy--a lovely calendar." But then I looked closer, and the photos were all my own! She had carefully selected them from my photo blog and Face Book photo albums and added them and all of our family's birthdays to the calendar.

I realized as I looked at the calendar that in all of the busyness of the past week, I had not turned the page over to the month of March. I got up and turned the page with the beautiful close up photo of one of my prize orchid blooms--the ones that drive Sue wild because she just can't grow them :), and I gasped at the next photo--the one that God chose for March. It's a photo I took in November 2010. The sky was dark and…

One More Thing

By Belinda

One more thing about the day Susan wrote about, which was in 1998--a whole 14 years ago! That day on the porch, Mum had said something about having "changed her tune" about something (I can't remember what,) and Susan went home and wrote this poem with that phrase included.

I Simply Haven’t Time!

When I was young and arrogant, I said some things I should recant. Like, “Hope I die before I’m old…” Could I have really been that bold?
The years are quickly passing by. I check the mirror and find that I Have wrinkles creeping o’er my face, And signs of age in every place.
Is it too late to realize That with the “old” comes also “wise?” There is so much that’s left to do So many things of real value.
I’ve lately come to understand That it’s all part of God’s great plan; I need to live out all my days; I need the time to learn His ways!
I still have opportunity To bless each one I come to meet. To drop some flowers on the path, And leave His fragrance where I’ve passed.
I’m old? I’m old!…

One Friend's Memory of Mum

By Belinda

The day Mum went on ahead of the rest of us, Susan sent this beautiful memory of Mum. I remember the day well myself. Mum was visiting here in Bond Head, and Susan and her daughter Jorie had come for tea on our porch. It was a beautiful summer's day. Here is Susan's memory, which I know she won't mind me sharing.
From Susan:

Thank you for calling me this morning to tell me the news that Mum has walked through the gates of heaven and into the strong arms of her beloved Lord and Saviour.  She's safely home! I can't even imagine how much joy there was in heaven this morning... to welcome this one who has loved SO well.Your mum will always be an example to me and holds a very special place in my heart.Remember the first time I met her?  We had tea on your front porch (with Jorie too).  I remember being struck by her beautiful voice, thicker, richer, deeper, somehow, as though there was a special message of love attached to each word - and there was!  She natura…


By Belinda

From somewhere deep in the land of sleep I hear a phone ringing and footsteps running up from downstairs. My wakening brain tries to make sense of the puzzle pieces and I think, "Poor Kevin, he must have a tech support call to answer and is running up to his office in the loft room." He often works all sorts of hours up there.

A knock at our bedroom door, that I stumble from the bed to answer. Brenda is there, phone in her extended hand, her face wet with tears, "It's Uncle Bob," she says, between her soft sobs, "Omie has died."

My brother's gentle, calm, voice. "We were all with her, Belinda," he says, "John, Tim and I. I got the call this morning. It wasn't unexpected."

He has been trying all along to balance out my hope and optimism with realism, always saying, "I hope I'm wrong, Belinda, but I just can't see her pulling out of this."

Just last night Rob told me that she was closing her eyes a lot…

Children of Alvechurch teacher Peter Rippington pay tribute to 'hero' dad at his funeral - Top Stories - News from @birminghammail

Weekend Newsflash

By Belinda

After a busy Saturday at the hairdresser, library, and signing up for a fitness membership at our amazing new recreational complex in nearby Bradford, I came home and called Rob for my "Mum Update."

Our friends Chris, Eileen and Nel Rose drove 4 hours from the Lake District to spend an hour with Mum today, so after they first stopped to have a cup of tea with Rob in Alvechurch, he let them visit first, while he picked up his son John in Redditch and got to the hospital just as Mum's first visitors were leaving.

Rob had gone to the room where Mum has been in isolation and found the bed she had been in, stripped, and no sign of Mum. She had been moved into the general ward with other people, which is a great step forward and will make her day so much more interesting as she can see the life going on around her and listen to the conversation and even participate a bit!

John, who had not seen her since last weekend when she was admitted, really saw a big difference an…

This Time Last Week

By Belinda

It seems so long since writing about anything but Mum, who has consumed much of my thoughts this week! Tonight there was little change since yesterday--if anything she was a little less well,--but we are reconciled to the fact that the original doctor's prognosis of, "She could be well enough to come home in three days," was wildly optimistic. It will be a slow process for Mum to regain her strength and we are taking one day at a time, just grateful she is safe and cared for and we are so grateful for loving support in prayer and will share any more breaking news as it happens. :)

So back to the night before this week of anxiety started--this time last Friday...Paul and I headed out into a snow storm to drive the hour to Mansfield, where our friends Brian and Frances and God children, Jake; Summer-Lily and Eden Belle live, on a road aptly named Mountainview.

We drove ever upward in the dark night, peering through swirling curtains of snow, snug in our sturdy litt…