Monday, December 31, 2012

As white as snow

So the end of 2012 is near and as I sit reflecting I am able to watch the beautiful snow fall. That may not be very exciting in some areas, but here in southern BC snow is a rarity....and the big beautiful flakes make me think ""Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18" Somehow it seems fitting that on the eve of the day we traditionally think of as a new beginning, God would send this (anyday) we can ask and our sins will no longer be scarlet, they will be forgiven and we once again as pure as snow....this a promise that gives us hope!

As I watch the flakes drop I am aware....

I am aware of their delicate beauty. I am aware that the first few that fall, as intricate and unique as they are, must sacrifice their shape as they hit the ground melting. I am aware that  as more follow, they slowly start to build on one another until the white is seen and the depth increases, the trees start to grow heavy and the ground changes color. I am aware if it were not for those first flakes preparing the surface the beauty of those that follow would not have a place to rest and accumulate.

I am aware that without that first sacrifice, we would miss the beauty completely. I pray I will not forget that this coming year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

One more sleep....

It is Christmas Eve...a much quieter and different one than that of Christmas past. I wondered if I would be ready but with the presents wrapped, the house tidy and the pies baking I realize that the new normal of Christmas is peaceful.

No longer do I need to get the tree ready for Santa, no longer do I have small excited children to dress for church and try to settle into bed, no longer do I see 2am on the clock and wonder when I will go to bed....the children are grown and it seems hard to believe it went by so quickly...and so I sit here quietly reflecting on the Christmas of the past and look toward the Christmas of the future.

I will admit that this is not how I pictured Christmas eve, I miss the family and the chaos...but I relish in the ability to quietly reflect on why we celebrate, on the hope that is Christmas, the gift that so many miss. I re-read the Christmas story and am reminded that before Jesus came, God seemed distant...accessible only to the high priest. His people doubted their salvation as they worried about the sacrifices they made...were they enough, would God be pleased?

And then Christ was born, fulfilling the the prophecy of Isaiah... born to a frightened young mother far from home....his life in danger before it much more than a simple birth in a stable...

And I am reminded that Christ is hope—to the person out of work, to the person suffering depression, to the struggling single mother, to the dying matter what you are facing as you push through the life's disappointments, if you have Jesus, you have hope.... not a false hope, a real hope. When Christ died and rose, our hope in him became solid and it is real.

Christmas is a renewal of that hope. It reconfirms it for us that regardless of our circumstance, Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of our hope. God settled it for us long ago, we need not doubt...only remember that we always have hope.

For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 17, 2012

Parental Control?

I was told that parenting would not get easier as the kids got older....I was ready for that.

I didn't however know it would get harder...I was not prepared for the time when simply holding my baby tight would provide the comfort to ease any pain my child was feeling.

I was ready for them to gain independence but was not prepared for the helplessness that would accompany having to stand by and watch as life handed them grown up problems and disappointments.

I looked forward to them becoming adults but find myself wishing they were once again little so I could once again protect them. 

As I write this I am obviously feeling melancholy, at odds with myself and my ability to be supportive without being controlling...what I am learning is that after 17 years of single parenting I am still not comfortable with not having some level of control...darn, I though I was past that particular flaw!

All this to say that I need to focus on God...the one who provides comfort...the one who protects....the one who is in control...the one I must depend on.

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, 
and to him who has no might he increases strength'"~Isaiah 40:28-29

"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”  ~Isaiah 41:13

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”~Deuteronomy 31:8

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peace & Hope

How is that 2 months have past?? I am sorry for my neglect....I have written in my head but alas, that is not good enough for it is then called 'thinking'.

Life continues to move at a very fast pace and there are many things I could write about....grandson, adult children, work and more...these are the things that take my time and for them I am grateful. Gratitude diaries seem to be very popular these days and I love the idea...*sigh*...but I don't think I shall do that today.

With Christmas around the corner, recipes and the very successful Pinterest are another way of filling our time (thank goodness I do not enjoy baking or I may be hooked). Christmas...this time of year is always full of conflicting emotions. I LOVE Christmas....the decor, the lights, the story of a saviour's birth, gingerbread cookies and reading under the tree... *happy sigh*....there are so many great things about Christmas to blog about.

The other side is the craziness of working retail, people who are overwhelmed and grumpy, financial strain as we try to 'keep up with the Jones', those who suffer depression for a myriad of reasons, the first Christmas without a loved one....*sigh*....I know so many who are suffering this Christmas

With this in mind I endeavour to sensitive to those who suffer, I will try to not covet the 'things' that society says I should have, I will love those that God has put in my life and I will remember that the true meaning of Christmas...hope....peace...

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Time seems to get away from me these days, I think about things I should write about but never seem to take the time to write them down...lots of changes going on but for today I shall stick to my Thanksgiving story. I have been looking forward to a 3 day weekend for awhile, I had lots of plans...seems that God had others...

As I started my week, the only plan was to cook a turkey on Monday and have the family over, leaving  me with 2 days to get some of my 'stuff' accomplished but then my girlfriends wanted to get together at the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley...who would give up an opportunity to spend time with great friends? Mid-week my beautiful daughter called and wondered if I wanted to go to church with her and Austin on Sunday followed by a trip to get pumpkins...who would pass up a chance to spend Thanksgiving with her wonderful kids and adorable grandson? Then a call from my chosen family, they were going to be in town for the weekend, would I like to have dinner and a visit Saturday evening...of course, they have a sweet little girl who also calls me grandma and I looked forward to the hugs. After they were gone Corinne called, she was alone so she came to spend the night. My quiet weekend became full...full of family, both blood and chosen. Full of the people I love ♥ Does it get better than that, I didn't think so.....well until today.

Today is Thanksgiving, I got up and drove to Surrey for is where the coincidence starts...or is it? I hope you will indulge me as I give you a play by play of my day. I picked up the kids and we headed to the church that houses Austin's daycare and just happens to be the place I took my 9 month course last felt comfortable as we entered and dropped the little man off at Sunday school. We had coffee in the foyer and people stopped to say hello, then we made our way into the sanctuary. This was the cartoon on the front of the bulletin, it made all of us giggle. As the worship started I glanced to my right and did a double take...what I saw was Pastor Ross Johnson... my grandmother's favorite pastor from the Church of the Nazarene here in Abbotsford. Yes he was older and rounder than that 'new' pastor that grams and gramps loved so much years ago but it was him, now a pastor at a Baptist church in Surrey only 2 blocks from Tif's home, the same church that has taken such good care of my grandson....coincidence??

As the service started I thought of my beloved grandma while I listened to a sermon on Romans 14....the pastor spoke of being careful about judging others. He spoke of the need for Christians to 'lift one anther up by accepting, rather than tripping people up by judging'. He warned that even if it was 'well meaning' it could have an affect on a persons walk with God...exactly what Tif has struggled with when it comes to church. The message was not lost on her or I....coincidence??

As we listened, my beautiful little girl said she was hungry (took me back to the many other Sunday mornings she said the same thing to me), I looked in my purse but only had some almonds (to which she is very allergic) so I dug deeper and pulled out a Werther's candy. Now this may not seem unusual to you but these were my grandfather's favorite candies...he always had a bag beside his recliner, he NEVER went anywhere without them and handed one to each of the kids every time he saw them. I am not fond of  them and NEVER buy them yet I had one single Werther's candy in my purse (and I have NO idea where it came from)...I handed it to her and with glossy eyes, she looked at me and whispered "I have not eaten one of these since the last time I got one from grandpa"...with tears forming in my eyes I had to wonder....coincidence??

We picked up a very happy Austin from sunday school where he had learned about the Pharaoh...a bad man who did something nice when God softened his heart. Was God working on some heart softening that very morning?  Of course he was also hungry so we drove to Wendy's for a burger and as Austin ordered nuggets (which he never does) we realized that was where Grandma & Grandpa Barkman always took us for lunch after church...coincidence??
 We finished our day at the pumpkin patch, basked in the glorious sunshine, pet the animals, held baby bunnies took a hay ride and had a wonderful day that was filled with family...past and present.

This Thanksgiving I am especially grateful.....and I choose to believe there are is no such thing as coincidence ♥

Friday, August 17, 2012

A grandmas voice...

The past three weeks have been very hectic with little time for anything as my dad's fairly routine knee replacement surgery turned bad....a few blood transfusions, low blood pressure, kidney issues are just the beginning of it. After a week of not being able to get our of bed with any real success he developed a pretty horrendous bed sore that has caused much worry and grief. Fortunately my wonderful sister showed up (she is a trained LPN) to make some of the 'corrections' in his care that have made a world of difference and dad is now up and moving pretty good although the wound on his back will take months to heal properly. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for a variety of reasons and today I am feeling the crack in my armour.

Family dynamics are always quite unique...ours is right up there and it can make dealing with crisis a navigational challenge. Tonight as I reflect on the journey thus far I was blessed with a memory that helps make it easier...

" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13 I type I can hear the sweet voice of my amazing grandma softly reminding me that it is God who carries us through tough emotional times. This was her mantra, followed by a gentle "if God is for you, then who can be against you". Funny how quickly we can forget this...amazing that God is gracious enough to allow me to hear her say it tonight when I am in desperate need of stability. Grandma Rose, how grateful I am for you and all you taught me, how much I love you still, how wonderful that even though you have been gone for 18 years, tonight when I needed a hug it came from you, my best friend ever!  

Sunday, July 22, 2012 quickly it goes by

Where does the time go? I find it hard to believe that it was a month ago that I wrote about my lifestyle change. Here is the update: I have now been eating differently for 2 months and I feel GREAT! I still have moments where I could hurt someone for want of a cinnamon bun but for the most part it is easy to say no once you realize how terrible certain foods can make you of the hardest things sometimes is forcing myself to get off the couch to cook after a long day. I love cooking but every once in awhile I am simply tired and want 'easy'; last night was one of those nights. After being forced to listen to the dog downstairs barking for 8 solid hours the previous night (obviously NO sleep) and working (day 6 this week), I simply wanted to keep my feet up and drink my wine...the kids offered to pick up pizza or subs and I was sorely tempted. As I pondered their offer I realized what an idiot I was being as both of those options would make me feel worse, so I got off the couch and before I knew it we had Mahi-Mahi burgers (sans bun for moi), spinach and blueberry salad with homemade pomegranate dressing and leftover was delicious and pretty easy to throw together...then I read for awhile and went to bed early feeling good! The point of this convoluted story is that the change has been for the good, sometimes difficult but better in the long run. Funny that much of life is like that, which brings me to another change.

This past week, I have started something else that has long been missing from my daily! I will be starting a book on finding Jesus in Genesis...and yes, it will include using my Bible alot!!  I am looking forward to getting together with a few friends and digging in, I have been horrified at how little time I allocate each day for study and hope to change that.  

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to be alone with God and pray. 
Mark 1: 35

Since Jesus did nothing without reason, I it is easy to assume that this practice was vital for him. Jesus sought out solitude so he could pray and meditate showing us another glimpse of  His humanity. As I read this passage today, it somehow struck me in a way it had not before.  Jesus was an incredibly busy dude at that point in his ministry, everyone wanted a piece of him, everyone wanted to be healed....who wouldn't, he was performing so many miracles that he had to keep moving from town to town because of the mobs of people (in v 33 the whole town is at the door). But think about this, in his human form he needed to refuel mentally, physically and spiritually...he did this in the quiet moments he made so that he might hear his father, he did this in his moments alone.

 As I write this out it seems so elementary yet we miss it, or perhaps ignore it. We somehow feel that our lives are so busy it is difficult to spend time with God, in His word...we fall asleep while reading because our day was so full of activity. Mark recounts a time when Jesus spent a full day healing a whole town...yet made time to refuel, he went early the next morning...he made time. If he made time, should we not do the same?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Feeling great!

I may be another year older but I feel better than I have in years!! For the past three weeks I have made some significant changes...and I am grateful I did.

Gone are the days of toast and it is apples & peanut butter or a package of seaweed (which really is not as bad as some may assume ☺) I have cut out just about all processed food, wheat and was easier than I thought. My fridge is full of greens, hummus and other healthy treats. My milk is now made from almonds and my cheese comes from goats. My coffee is infused with green tea & Gota Kola...ok, my first cup of the day is still made from dark roast beans & strong...but then I am drinking the Javita for the rest of the day. These are all big changes for me.

I admit to being a bit of a skeptic (I know huh...who knew)!! Anyway I was not sure if this little experiment would work, if I would be able to keep doing it or if I would be able to enjoy any of it. The results however  speak for themselves: I have been sleeping well (you know that does not happen often), I wake up feeling rested and feel ready to face the day, I have energy, I am not hungry, I do not feel the need to nap and the bonus....I have lost 5 pounds!!

Last night Jordan took me out for a birthday dinner at Paliotti's (Italian) and I ate some fabulous whole wheat seafood pasta. It was accompanied by a great glass of Merlot,I do not feel guilty at all and  we had a great time. I only share this because when we came home I actually felt the need to have a quick nap for the first time in 3 weeks...I do not believe it was coincidence. I will still on occasion eat my beloved pasta but I no longer crave it (or a sandwich) and I am very happy about that. So I will continue to eat whole foods, walk and drink my special coffee....who knows what will happen if I decide to go to gym as well?? Nah, not quite there yet ☺

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
    You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. 
 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you restored my health.
Psalm 30: 1-2 NLT

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Next step....

It is hard to believe that it is June already. As I sit here with my morning coffee I can not help but contemplate the many changes of the past year and wonder what the next one will hold. I know the average person considers December the end of the year but for me (must be the years of retail) I always consider it to be June. 
This past year, you followed me on a journey that I could not elaborate on too much for fear of involving the innocent ☺
Thank you for the support as I delved into my past and some of the feelings that followed me from that. A couple of weeks ago I graduated from the course I was taking which means it is time to take the next step. As you know two years ago I entered a makeover contest, it was the catalyst that started me on a journey of healing and personal health. The contest helped me look at my attitude towards myself I saw the need for some change. Then I took a course that would take me into some of the painful corners of my life that I could no longer ignore...and now

Well now, now it is my year of physical health! I am tired of being tired!! I have spent the last two weeks preparing for yet another lifestyle change. I started doing more walking, and I shall change my eating habits. It seems that my thyroid is 'dysfunctional' (kind of funny if you ask me) so I will try to naturally jump start it. As most of you know Jordan is a type 1 Diabetic, this means that we eat very healthy...I changed the way I cooked once he was diagnosed and yet somehow I have still remained grossly overweight. This leads me to the hardest part, it seems that I will also need to take wheat out of my diet, since I LOVE bread, this will be a bit of an issue. I have no doubt that it will be difficult to give up and there may be moments where it may be dangerous to be in the same room as me but I am determined...which is one reason I share this with you.

I am committed to being being able to play with my gorgeous grandson, to feeling good about the person that God created me to be!! This week I will commit the following verse to memory:
 "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
 And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A measure of success.

How do we measure success? This is a question that has come up a few times as of late and it got me wondering....I know how to define professional success but how do I measure personal success?

May is always a busy month for me, I will share a couple of the events that I was helping plan. At the beginning of the month I was involved in a fund-raising event for Gallery 7, a local theatre that I love. At the last minute we had to change the format and although I was excited about the prospect in the end we did not meet our financial goals. Does this mean it was unsuccessful? Not at all, in the end we found that it was less work, less stressful and more fun!! With some work and some tweaking we can make this event much better next yes, it was successful!

Then this weekend I spent 36 hours at History Makers, a local youth event that hosts about 3,500 teens. This is the third year I have been involved in this weekend and although it is a TON of work I love doing it. After all was said and done I was asked, was it successful?? I can't go into the financial side of it but what if I simply look at the teens that I met, interacted with and heard about? One young man was brought up in a satanic home, he was thrilled to purchase a t-shirt that read "God's got your back" and his leader felt he was ready to commit to living a Christ filled life; a young girl whose bible of 8 years was devastated that it was falling apart, it was an older bible that was no longer in print...if only I could describe the sheer joy on her face when I went to the store and found an old leather bible that matched her beloved tattered paperback; the young girl who was finally gaining some independence and making friends; the young man who had attended the last 3 years and greeted us like old friends; thousands of teens in a worship concert with hands raised, praising God....I could go on and  I should because yes, it was successful!!

That leads me to wonder how do we measure personal success? In order to measure our personal success, we have to be able to look past how much money or power we have gained. Personal success is also marked by examining spiritual growth, emotional growth and attitude towards life. As I make a mental list of all that I have accomplished these past 20 years I can see what I deem successes and failures. As I make an inventory of them I wonder what does God think? How would he measure my success?  

As I started to search the bible I am thrilled to find answers...starting with King David as he spoke to Solomon, "Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go." 1 Kings 2:3. I continued to search and find more than 20 references to success (not exhausted at all) and I can take success is measured by the Lord.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quest for...

What do you do when you realize a month has passed and you have accomplished little?? Sit down and blog about it?? I feel the need to publicly admit that I sometimes have periods of little or no discipline...apparently this is one of those times. Although the past month has been busy and full of surprises, mostly think I have just been lazy. A few weeks ago I  hit a milestone, one that I knew was well on its way, in fact many of you have accompanied me as I journeyed to this place. I have hit the point in my life where all my kids are grown, doing well and not in need of constant mothering. This was solidified with Jordan introducing his girlfriend to the family....yup, my baby is dating a wonderful girl whom we like very much!!

Now the question is what does that mean for my means I need to re-evaluate what I want to accomplish in this next phase, unfortunately that is always easier said than done! It means that some of my 'mantras' of years past are no longer valid and I have to form new ones.  It means I have done my job and will take a moment or two breath and thank God for without his intervention and grace I am sure that our family would not be where we are. At the beginning of the journey it meant being scared, now it means being thankful!!

Yesterday I read Steven James new book Quest for Celestia,  the retelling of The Pilgrims Progress. Interesting fact, Bunyan's book was thought to be the best selling book other than the Bible for over 200 years...I cannot help that I like that sort of trivia, anyway now I digress... I never could quite get into the original story, but as I read this version I became engrossed in the journey and the characters. I cringed as they discovered their disease, I followed as they faced danger and scant moments of reprieve, I was thrilled when Kadin & Leira finally make it to Celestia.  At the end of the journey, Kadin "remembered questioning Gaius about the goodness of the King in contrast to the suffering we'd experienced in our travels, and now realized that pain is part of the journey. The King loved me enough to pursue me even when I did not he was there."  As I read I thought perhaps that is my answer, God has loved me enough to bring me through many years of pain....perhaps now is the time for me to pursue the King.

"Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
   but he will heal us;
he has injured us
   but he will bind up our wounds." 
Hosea 6:1

Saturday, March 17, 2012

a lazy day....and its good!

I awoke to what I hoped was going to be a beautiful day....then I realized it was snowing again!! Now I love the snow but for the record, it is March and I live on the coast, the crocus's have poked out already and this white stuff is messing with us!!

Despite the weather, I got up, made coffee, started laundry and wondered what to do next...ok, confession of the day .... I have learned to enjoy 'lazy'. I know what I should be doing but what I end up doing may be a completely different story. This love for doing nothing started over Christmas, I was told  I needed to rest & for the first time in a VERY long time I did just that...and I liked it!! Now when Saturday arrives....well, I wish I could wiggle my nose, have all the housework and errands done so that I can pick up a new book and read until bedtime.

 Which brings me to this morning's clean, to read, to study, to workout?? How about write a quick post is doing something while still getting to sit in my comfy chair with my coffee and my feet up...I will find balance, I will indeed do the laundry and clean the house, I may even bake Jordan some healthy muffins for the week...but I will also rest, I will pull out some books and read.

Speaking of  reading, I am reading  "Grace for the Good Girl" by Emily Freeman again, I rarely do this but am sure I missed important stuff as I quickly read through it the first time. This is an incredible book that talks about letting go, chapter 7 is called 'Falling apart: hiding behind strength and responsibility'.  I have spent my life feeling responsible; responsible for good grades, helping my mom with my siblings, filling gaps, keeping my marriage together, my kids, a clean house, paying bills, did I say my kids...the list is so long that I only wrote the obvious ones. Being responsible is a good thing, we are called to be good stewards but hiding behind a mask of strength & responsibility is not. The following thought resonated with me so I will share it: 
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise:
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:27
Freeman writes that it seems backwards to her, that she would have done it differently (me too I must admit)...but that is the way of Jesus....that His grace is enough and that our weakness is ultimately a pathway to experiencing His strength. 'Weak' is not necessarily the bad 4-letter word I have always thought it to be...that hiding behind that mask of responsibility is not only exhausting but it ultimately portrays that we have it all together, that we can handle our messes and we don't need anyone...but far worse that we do not need God. That is not what I want to portray, that is not truth...for the truth is without God I would have crumbled many years ago.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Excellent & Praiseworthy

I am so sorry that I have been remiss in posting the last couple of weeks...forgive me. As I try to get everything accomplished I cannot help but wonder if my merry-go-round will ever stop to let me off?? Until that happens, it is my plan to hold on and enjoy the ride!!

Even with being so busy the last two weeks, I knew if I did not post something this morning (before heading out to a conference in Surrey) I would feel bad so I thought I would look up a 'verse of the day'...Here it is:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is 
excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things . 
Philippians 4:8 NIV

That verse is fitting..........

First it was my son's 28th birthday, it seems impossible that the time has gone by so quickly. I will not share too much but after 3 short hours of labour, on a quiet snowy morning he made his entrance...he has been my quiet child every since, he has overcome much in his short life and he amuses me to no end...I love him even more now than the morning they placed him in my arms. Happy Birthday Baby, I am SO proud of you!! You are excellent and praiseworthy so I think of you!!

Second, as you know I am involved in a Freedom class, I cannot share a lot of the details but last night we got together for a meal and has been 6 months since we started (3 more to go). Each of us were facing different issues, each of us were looking for healing and freedom....each of us has made remarkable progress on that quest...each of us owes the power of that healing to a God who loves us, who is excellent and praiseworthy and I thank Him!!

So today as I go about trying to get everything done, I will  try not to let frustration take hold but think only of those things that are true, that are noble, that are pure and I will think of the many wonderful gifts that God provides.....
and I will praise Him !!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Oppression is defined as: the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. 

I have often only applied this word to the most unfortunate of circumstances.....the victims of human trafficking, the religiously persecuted, extreme poverty especially when caused by get the idea. These people are indeed oppressed, they need our help and prayers.  As I came home from service today (guess what we spoke about), my mind was contemplating more than one meaning of the word. I am horrified by the sex trade and although I do not know how to stop it my heart goes out to all those who are unfortunate enough to be trapped in such a life. I also know that there are many other kinds of oppression and can only imagine how much grief our depravity and greed causes our loving God. 

But then I wondered, what about the oppression we place on ourselves? How about the seemingly small things that we allow satan to grab a hold of.....what does God feel when we willingly allow oppression to creep into our lives?? It is easy to feel empathy for the child who is sold into slavery, the woman who is being beaten, the church that cannot pray. What about those around us who allow alcohol or drugs to rule their life? What about the young girl so desperate to fill a void that she is promiscuous? What about the young man who is so filled with anger he is abusive to those around him?? It pains me to look at these types of situations where our hands are seemingly tied.

Over the past year, I have been on a wonderful (and painful) journey of healing. During this time God has been gracious and loving, He has taken me to some of the dark places of my life and gently nudged me to walk through them with new eyes so that I can see they no longer bind me..... and I am grateful.....but I noticed something, as I relive some of those events satan sees that they no longer have a hold on me and  so he tries to get me to grab onto something else, something that he might then use to regain the footing he has lost. If that is true in my life, then I am sure it must be the same in others as well. Confession of the of the most addictive crutches of my past is smoking. Stupid but true, I enjoyed smoking (probably always will), I was able to give up drugs and partying without a backward glance but smoking, that was another story. I did eventually quit but as I walk through some painful memories, the want for that old form of comfort is back in full force and I am surprised, I thought that was a thing of the apparently is not and it is burdensome, it is oppressive.

So you see where my mind takes me...oppression comes on so many levels. It is the feeling of having our hands tied, it comes in the form of hopelessness and pain, of not being sure how to escape  but thankfully God set his captives free, He did so during the Exodus and He continues to do so today...He has the power to untie our hands!

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
   and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
   and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
   and cuts through bars of iron. Psalm 107:13-16 NIV

Saturday, February 11, 2012 is February already??

It is hard for me to believe that it is already the second week of February, I was under the impression that once I had 'downsized' the number of entries on my calendar there would be more time?! Guess that was a fallacy of epic proportions! (yes Jordan, I used the word 'epic')

This year I have stepped away from many of my commitments to try and regain some sanity (although I think sanity may be a long shot for me).  I am still driving into Surrey twice a week, once to meet with a counsellor, and once to see my beautiful little man before heading off to my evening class as well as any board commitments with Gallery 7.  It is not like I have nothing left to do, but I have conditioned myself to keep very busy over the years so only 3 full time commitments feels a  bit light ☺  Still I have more time at home and I am finding that I am really enjoying it, I am also realizing a need to re focus the time and energy in my life.

This past year has been a that I am willing to fully share with you however I have not quite figured out how so without 'changing names to protect the innocent' so to speak....but now I am wanting to try, so I will see if I can do it. One of the surprising side effects of this year of healing is that I have, for the first time, not kept a journal throughout it....usually my first instinct is to write, however this time I have simply wanted to keep the details in my head, process them and throw them away. LOL, this is a class that requires writing everything down and I rebel and revert to point form...go figure!!

But it is February and I feel better than I have in a long time. I want to start visiting my journal again, I want to spend time at the table with pen, paper and books and study, I want to get back into God`s word and write!! 
I love life journaling, I started it years ago as my devotion time and I miss it. I guess that in the end, that is all today`s post is about...a public declaration to spend some quality time with God and get back to my love of writing....after all, it is already February!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I LOVE Thursdays!!

I have just returned home from my favourite night of the week...Thursday!! 
Some of you will know why right away, some will have good ideas about why and others will have no clue...whatever category you fit in, the fact remains that this day has become the highlight of my week.

On Thursdays, I start to clear my desk at 3:00 to so that I can leave work 4:30 I am at the fence of the daycare where one of my greatest joys comes running to say hello and get a kiss through the chain link fence (yes this requires a bit of strategic puckering to ensure I am only kissing little lips and not the fence itself), then it is inside for a full blown hug from him...and a number of other cute faces that yell "Hello Austin's grandma, can I have a hug too?"... Once all the hugs are properly distributed, the muddie buddies are folded and put away, the crafts collected and the daily menu board read (it is somehow important that I know what he ate for lunch) off we go . His little hand grabs mine and the jabbering starts as we head off to spend some quality time together. This ritual brings me so much joy that I actually am 'tearing' up a bit as I recount it for all of you. Our dates can include a number of things depending on our mood...a game, shopping for dinner, a trip on the sky train just because he loves it or perhaps a coffee & hot chocolate at Chapters... but it always ends with sharing a meal with mommy, another hug , kiss (or two) & an 'I ♥ you' before I leave. These are moments that I treasure.

This kind of unconditional love is good for the soul, 
it is a gift that I am grateful for...
yup, this is the stuff memories are made of!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Revelation...

This is a time of personal revelation for me...God walking me through my childhood, helping me to heal, showing me what to do, helping distinguish truth from is often crippling as I do not want to relive the past, sometimes it actually takes my breath away. I have prayed that God would allow me to see those things that need to be faced & fixed... but to also allow me to see how He sees me, small glimpses of myself through His eyes...
I am constantly amazed at the passage of time. Was it not only last week that my babies were running around giggling, that I curled up at the end of each day with a bedtime story??, no it was not. In fact, this coming week my littlest man will turn 5 years old--I have been a grandma for 5 years!!  I have treasured every single moment of loving him...but there is no denying that I am getting older, that the end of each day comes quicker than it once did!! I sometimes find it hard to grasp, my babies are all adults...I will never be the mother of young children is a bittersweet pill.

Yesterday while having dinner with a couple of wonderful friends, our kids came moms know how this is. We all have older children, and they have all given us a run for our money at some point.  As we talked, laughed and shared it hit me....I LOVE MY KIDS!! OK, I knew this before yesterday, anyone who knows me knows that I love my kids. What made this moment of realization so amazing was what happened later..

As a mom who spent the last 16 years raising her kids alone, it has become easy to blame myself for all the little things that I did wrong~
why did I yell like that? how could I say something so stupid? why isn't the house clean? did I forget to take something out for dinner? how much damage have I done because of my parenting? was "this" my fault?did I spend enough time with them?
I could go on as I have been plagued with many such thoughts over the years, the way I opted to parent was an odd mix and I often wondered if I made the right choices (and there was no one to blame but me so it weighed on me). 

Then God gave me a glimpse....a sliver of what He thought of me....and it was good! As I reflected on the passage of time He showed me how special it was to have these children love me despite my mistakes, that love covered many failures, that the way I loved them, warts and all was the way He loves me...God, in His loving way gave me a revelation!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Today I have some time to myself so it seemed only right to catch up on some blogs and write a new one....imagine my surprise when I saw the date of the last one was Nov...I know I had written a couple of posts after that...I had and there they were sitting in the drafts. Who takes the time to blog and does not hit 'post'?? Apparently I do!!

As I read them I see why, they were painful and raw, guess I thought I would clean them up a bit before the 'I am forever in cyberspace' moment...reading them in the original form has been God's gift to me today as He shows me the journey of healing is indeed here. One of the posts started like this:
The year 2011 has come with many ups & downs...with wonderful moments and sad moments, with both firsts and lasts. As I prepare for Christmas Eve I feel the extreme loss of my best friend, the sadness of my nephews passing much too young and hurt over the number of youth who have tragically left families & friends alone to mourn...the heaviness of it weighs on me.
I was aware that last Christmas would be the last one we shared with Della, lovingly known as Grandma B but I was not prepared for emptiness I would feel as I spent the first one without her in 36 years...she was a treasure and I miss her today, I miss her smile and her prayers and her love.

Today it is 2012 and somehow the world seems brighter, the sadness is still there but the hope is far stronger. Yes, I miss the people who are gone...but I would not had I not been blessed with them to begin with and for that I am grateful!!

This past year I have discovered some wonderful things, I have been blessed with 'truth'...the truth of who I am and who God sees me to be. The years have brought many lies and recently I had somehow lost my confidence, my resolve to cope. The problem was that I started to believe the lies which started a spiral of emotions I was not prepared for and did not want to deal was easier to shut down and simply exist, making it through each day. That was a hard realization for me as I am not a quitter, fortunately the past couple of months have shown me a number of things. I did not quit, I was broken and too tired to continue the constant battle. I needed rest, both physically and spiritually. God has been ever faithful and granted me both of these needs. 

Over Christmas I took some time off, with a hundred plans I was ready to go...instead I spent a week at home doing NOTHING!! I slept, I read, I prayed and slept some more, for a moment or two I berated myself for being lazy...God confirmed I simply needed rest, so I rested...and as I rested was able to see the lies more clearly. The danger of a lie is the half truth that hides behind it. I am not sure how to concisely convey this realization in a blog post but as I wrote down the many lies that God was gracious enough to uncover I saw the little truths..
~you are fat & ugly--yes, I am overweight 
~you are lazy--yes, sometimes I have to stop what I am doing and rest
~you are unlovable--yes, some people do not love me, MANY do!
These of course are the big ones, there are many more subtle ones, the problem is when we mix the large lie with a bit of truth, it then becomes just 'authentic' enough for us to buy into it...and satan has another small victory. I will no longer allow the lies to overshadow the truth!!

I digress...not sure how I got here from oops **shrug** I guess it is important so I will hit 'publish' and look forward to 2012 being my year of truth ♥