We are on a journey, sojourners on this earth. Let us share with you the highs and lows of our lives. Heaven is a sweeter place now that we have two beautiful granddaughters waiting there for us.

Monday, July 10, 2017

His Plans, Not Mine

 “The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

The news from the surgeon had not been good and to complicate an already difficult situation I would have to wait for the surgery required to deal with the daily pain I was experiencing.  In this instant society that we live in there were no instant answers and so I would have to wait. As I shared the news with friends and family the overwhelming response was ‘Oh that’s terrible!’

And for a few moments I agreed! I had put on a brave front all day but now in the quiet moments before I turned off the light for the night, I opened my bible and my eyes fell on the words I had marked up the night before…. The Lord will work out his plans for my life…. Really Lord? Even now? Even with this new news? ….Yes child, even now.

Nothing had changed. He was still the same God, and He was still sovereign and in control. He had made me and there was nothing that was a surprise to Him, therefore I could depend on Him. He wasn’t going to abandon me because after all, He hade made.

As I read on that night, I read Psalm 139 and it was as if I was reading the words for the first time again. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.(vs 3). I was stopping and resting a lot these days but God already knew that and I could trust and depend on Him.

Falling asleep that night my heart was singing and remembering, How precious are your thoughts about me, Oh God! (vs 17a) I knew then that I could trust in His plans, not mine!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to depend on You, regardless of the situation I am facing today or the pain that I am in. May I remember that your promises have not changed and that I need to wait on You as You have told me, to be obedient to Your Word, and to remember always that You are still in control and I can depend on You to do exactly what You promised to do. Amen

Monday, June 26, 2017

Turn My Eyes

 “Give me an eagerness for your decrees; do not inflict me with love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.” Psalm 119:36,37(New Living Translation)

As the parent of adult children and grandmother to 9, my heart is more and more towards how I can effectively pray for my family. As I read these words from Psalm 119, I felt like the verses literally jumped off the page at me! Why hadn’t I noticed them before?

A change of translation can often do that and I was thankful for the way that God not only grabbed my attention but also gave me some specific verses that I could pray for family members. 

Lord I don’t want to have my eyes turned to worthless things. I don’t want to waste my life Lord, or waste the hours in each day. And for sure I don’t want my children and grandchildren to be wasting their hours and lives either. Instead, give me life through Your Word! Would you do that for them too Lord?

It’s so easy to be sucked into the things that the world around says are important, most of which centers around self-satisfaction and the love for money. But instead these verses reminded me that I can ask God to change my heart, and turn my eyes. I love this translation…..’do not inflict me with love for money’! Who thinks of it that way anyway? That it is something I can pray against in my own life and the life of those closest to me. Definitely something to think about and apply!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the reminder from Your Word that I can ask You to turn my eyes from worthless things and instead to give me an eagerness for those things that are near to your heart. Give me life through Your Word dear Lord. Amen
Action Step:
What worthless things consume your heart, mind or time? Ask God to give you an eagerness for His word instead and a heart to please Him in every way.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Running for Water and to Remember

Today several of our family members joined over 4000 others to Run for Water,
an annual event that raises money to provide water wells 
for villages in Ethiopia that have no fresh water.
Our Northerners came down on Friday already so that Matt could run the 25 km Trail Run yesterday... it was hot and covered 1500 meters of elevation but we were all proud of him.
 First off this morning, it was Heather's turn!
She had been training all year for this her first half marathon,
and Matt and the boys were there to cheer her on!
 7:30 am and they are off....
 and there she goes!
 While she was off running the half marathon,
the next racers were getting ready.
 The race included hills and heat so the Fire Engine spraying water on the runners along the way
was a welcome sight.
 Next to get ready to go,
were Megan and Jaxon.
Jaxon was running the 10 km race for the second year in a row...
 and was definitely excited to do it again.
 At 8:30, it was time for them to be off....
 Jaxon stayed with Megan for most of the race,
 but once he knew where he was at,
Megan gave him the ok to take off without her...
and off he went!
He looked like he wasn't even running that hard as he approached the finish line... came Megan...
...looking a wee bit more tired than her son. :-)
Also at the finish line were Heather's two biggest fans...
 watching and waiting for her to come in...
 before they took off for their 5 km run.
 And there she comes... and tired...
 but to she did it!! 
She ran her first half marathon!
 And off they went...
 Kai was so excited to finish ahead of his Dad.
 A family picture to remember an awesome day of running...
...but also remembering.
 As the medals proudly proclaimed, the run this year was for Letisha's Well,
in memory of the young girl from our church who was killed in November last year.
 Like our family, Letisha had run the race for the past several years
and she was passionate about serving others, making people smile,
and being involved in giving back to those less fortunate than she was.

What an amazing day to run for water and to remember.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Good Reminder

Since we moved to our oasis(I feel like that when I am sitting on our patio, listening and watching the birds, and reading a book with not a single other soul in sight, I have often marveled at the ridiculous amount of 'Stuff' that people around us seem to collect. Double and triple garages so full that the three vehicles all sit outside. Really people?!!

It reminds me of two posts that I wrote when we were getting ready to move in here, that I looked up to share with a friend who was also might be perfect timing for some of you that are going through the same thing.

Here you go....check them out! ....Why do we have so much stuff? and better yet, why do we keep so much of it? How do we take a realistic look at the things we keep? My daughter has a great life motto......something in, something out. In other words, when she buys something new, something has to go. So if she buys a new shirt, an old shirt goes.

Same with children's toys and it works! Oh and speaking of toys, both our girls don't have all the toys out for the children to play with. They periodically go through them and put them in a bag, out of sight. If no one missed them, then they are gone! Good thinking ladies! .... Questions to ask when you are purging or getting ready for a move. I found these really helpful.

A couple of extra ones that I have thought of since then are:
1. Will my children know what this is? or who this is in the case of pictures? If not, then either label it or toss it.

2. Will my children know why I kept this? why it was important to me?

There you go....some more thoughts from my back patio!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Working Together

 We love our little corner of the world....
a townhouse complex but the end unit 
so sometimes we almost forget we have neighbours close by.
As Grandparents these days we often feel the need to entertain our grandchildren,
after all that's what we are here for right?
or maybe not!
 I've been thinking a lot these past weeks about our influence on the generations that follow us.
What will they remember us for?
What memories will they hold close to their hearts?
 Dave loves to work outdoors so guess what?
Our grandchildren will definitely have memories of that,
but not just him working,
but them working alongside of him.
 Friday was one of those days.
The boys had a Professional Development Day so no school,
but Dave had already arranged to borrow a friend's truck to add a load of bark mulch to our gardens.
 No problem!
The boys just got to help,
and help they did! 
They shoveled it over the brick wall into the garden,
raked it out and voila!
Everything looks fresh and clean,
no weeds,
and they had fun being part of the work team!
Not a bad memory at all!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tired of Waiting


 “Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. ….So he demanded ‘Bring me the bunt offering and the peace offerings!’ And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself…...” I Samuel 13:8,9

Do you ever wonder what God is thinking as he watches us in our daily struggles and situations? As I read through 1 Samuel I am amazed at Saul’s behavior, even though the Holy Spirit had come upon him earlier in his life as Israel’s King, he wasn’t willing to obey the words of God through the prophet Samuel.  With the Philistine army mustered(13:5) the ‘men of Israel…lost their nerve entirely’(13:6).

Saul took matters into his own hands and offered the burnt offering to the Lord himself instead of waiting for Samuel. No big deal, right? Wrong! ‘You have disobeyed the command of the Lord your God… your dynasty must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.’(vs 13,14) Instead of enduring and obeying God’s commands, he did his own thing and it cost him his kingdom.

How often do you grow tired of waiting for God to act in a situation or in your circumstances and instead of praying and giving thanks, you try to fix it yourself, often causing all manner of chaos in the process? God has asked us to persevere, to endure, to wait upon Him and always remember who He is and the promises that He has given us.  Regardless of the outcome, we are told to rejoice, to give thanks, to trust and obey.

Saul rationalized his behaviour to Samuel but God still called him to account for his actions. Do not grow tired of waiting for Him to act. Instead trust that He is already at work and will do all He has promised to do in your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to trust You, regardless of the situation I am facing today. Give me patience to wait on You as You have told me, to be obedient to Your Word, and to remember always that You are still in control and I can trust You to do exactly what You promised to do. Amen

Action Step:
What situation or circumstance are you facing today that you are tired of waiting for God to work in? Ask God today to help you to trust Him even when you cannot see Him at work in the situation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Choosing Contentment

This morning I could hardly walk around the Pond as we affectionately call the the creek in the park because of my pain levels. As I sat down to encourage someone else who was newly dealing with chronic pain, I searched for an article I wrote many years ago, only to find it was no longer accessible. So here's looking something I have learned, am learning, and continue to learn about choosing contentment along this journey I would never have chosen.

Choosing Contentment

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy. God has given us such immense freedom that He will allow us to be as miserable as we want to be.” (You Gotta Keep Dancin’, by Tim Hansel)

“Your neck is unstable. It has begun to heal but the damage is done. I suggest that you make the necessary changes in your lifestyle.”

The doctor’s words sent my mind off racing. What would that mean for me? I listened as he continued his monologue.

“I suggest that you give up downhill skiing, sky diving, anything that would put your neck at risk…” I heard little else said that day. I was only 19, a university student with a desire to live each day to the fullest.

But now a car accident had left me in indescribable pain. As a result of the permanent soft tissue damage from the accident, I was unable to take as many courses as I usually did per semester. Nor did I have the strength to complete my performance degree in piano. There was little hope of life ever returning to normal.

Pain, misery, joy
We rarely think of those three words in the same context. Yet in my lifelong journey of living with pain, I have learned to do just that. It is really easy for me to focus on the negative circumstances of my life and complain about them. I can even justify why I complain about them. After all, I have a right to complain – I’m in pain everyday. But God instructs us in His word to “consider it all joy.” No exceptions.

I call it my journey of joy, and it wasn’t traveled overnight. Instead it has been a lifetime of learning through the various trials, disappointments and sufferings that my Heavenly Father has allowed to come into my life. Choosing joy, and in turn being content, is a discipline that we learn in our lives one step at a time. In the front of my daily planner, I wrote this statement: “God chooses what we go through. We choose how we go through it.” The choice is mine to make and it is true that I can be just as miserable as I choose to be!

Choices. That’s what joy and contentment is all about. We cannot change the circumstances, but we can choose how we respond to them. We choose whether we will be miserable because of them, or joyful in spite of them. The choice is always ours to make.

Here are four choices we can make that are the keys to living with contentment.
1.    Choose your focus – Charles Swindoll once said, “Your outlook on life is not determined by your circumstances, but by your focus.” Instead of looking at the circumstances, choose instead to look beyond those circumstances to God. I had to daily choose whether I would focus on the circumstance of living with chronic pain, or focus on God who has promised that His grace is all-sufficient. By choosing to keep your eyes on the Lord, you will get to know Him better and it will become easier to trust Him in every situation.
2.    Choose joy – Again, I have a daily choice to make of whether or not I will “consider it all joy.” And although I cannot choose for a lifetime, I can choose to rejoice in the Lord and His faithfulness one moment at a time. I can ask God to restore to me the joy of my salvation (Psalm 51:12).
3.    Choose to laugh – It has been said that he who laughs, lasts. Don’t take yourself too seriously and whenever possible, laugh at yourself! There is a reason why Proverbs says that a cheerful heart is truly good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).
4.    Choose to cultivate a thankful heart – Never doubt the goodness of God toward you. Begin to daily look for those things that you can be thankful for. Start with looking for one thing every day, and then increase the number of things. This is a discipline that requires diligence. Even in difficult circumstances, look first for something for which to be thankful. Remember, that God is never surprised about anything that happens in our lives.

For those who struggle with chronic pain, having an attitude of gratitude is difficult because the first thing that hits you every morning is how much you hurt. You’re not even sure you can get out of bed if you wanted to get out of bed. There is a deprivation of energy. But you can learn in the midst of the chronic pain to choose joy and to be thankful. Focus more on what you can do than what you can’t. Although physical pain is part of my everyday life, I have a choice to make. I choose to celebrate life, to be joyful and to be thankful for each new day!

Without Christ in me I could never choose joy. It would only be a feeble attempt at positive thinking. The source of my joy comes from my right relationship with Him and it is He who gives me the power to make that choice even in the most difficult circumstances. As I trust Him with every detail my life I’m learning the secret of being content in any and every situation.

What about you? Is chronic pain keeping you from living a life of contentment and gratitude? It doesn’t have to be that way. You can have peace and fulfillment by being filled with the Holy Spirit. The first step is to make sure that Christ is really on the driver’s seat in your life and that you are allowing His Spirit to fill you and empower you.

Pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the