Showing posts from January, 2016

Lessons Learned

There's an ancient psalm in which an Israelite king named David gives praise to God for being  "fearfully and wonderfully made."  How true! Humans are complex and amazing on all kinds of levels. One thing I thank God for is that we can continually learn, develop, and improve as human beings! Proverbs 16:31 says: "  Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. "  We don't come into the world fully equipped with wisdom and all the "Fruits of the Spirit" installed at the start. Fruit by its very nature takes time to grow and sometimes longer than it needs to, due to our own lack of cooperation. This isn't edible fruit I'm writing of, but the qualities that result from spending time with God, soaking in scripture so that it speaks to us and letting his presence transform us so that we reflect his character.  The fruit of the Spirit   is: Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and s

The Gift

It's four years, although it seems so much longer, since a trip to England that Paul and I took, in January 2012. Although we didn't know it at the time, those two weeks were my goodbye on earth to my own Mum, and in retrospect, I can see how God gave us precious moments that I can look back on as a very special gift.  9 years earlier  Mum had a stroke from which she recovered physically enough to live at home with supports, but not her ability to read, write, or find the words she needed to express herself. She bore this with good humour and pragmatism, and we loved her so much for who she was in this period of her life; I share this so that you'll know how much each word that she spoke meant. I wanted to share a few memories from that time, which I am so grateful to have recorded here. This is from January 24, 2012. Prayer: it is our nightly ritual; between the carers who come from Helping Hands to help Mum to bed, and Rob, who comes downstairs to put in eye drops and a

The Voice

This photograph with our children, Peter and Brenda, was taken on their grandmother's 85th birthday, almost 5 years ago. On that day in June 1985, the church basement was filled with a crowd of her descendants: five children and their spouses, and many grandchildren with their spouses, and great grandchildren.  In a few months she'll be 90 and she is amazed that she has arrived at this great number of years. In her heart and mind it is so easy to slip back to a time that seems like only yesterday; her girlhood. E asier often, than it is to remember yesterday. Brenda Sheppard was a pretty, spirited 15 year old girl, with auburn hair and laughing blue eyes  in 1941.   She couldn't wait to leave school and get on with life. She would have loved to go into market gardening, putting into practice all that she had learned from her father, an engineer with British Rail. He grew prize vegetables in his glass houses and allotments when he wasn't working. But such opportuni

Visits with Mum

2015 was a plunge into an ocean of change. At the beginning of August I retired from a career I had loved and worked at for almost 32 years. The months that followed went by fast as I transitioned into a new life with both the treasured gift and responsibility, of time. The very first Sunday of my retirement, as I drove out of the church parking lot, I decided to drop in on my mother-in-law, who at 89 finds that  due to some unpredictable health concerns,  watching church on TV works best for her these days. That Sunday afternoon I found her in her backyard sitting on a garden swing. I joined her on the swing, and, for the next hour or so, I reveled in the freedom of no pressure to rush through the moment and the pleasure of her company. After all, I had tomorrow to do everything that needed doing; I had  no  pressing  "to do" list running interference in the back of my mind!  In September I began meeting two friends for a Wednesday morning walk in the conservatio