Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘FAMILY’ Category

On March 14, 2020 I had a ticket to fly from the west coast to the east, but then … Covid.

I wrote, a week before scheduled to fly across the country, “from the west coast to the east, from one home to another, my mind begins to prepare for the sights, smells and sounds that will, in all probability, trigger the emotions of grief when I arrive.”

It was to be my first time back, in my province of origin, in the home of my childhood, with the people whom I shared the beginning of life … after the death of my dad in the fall of 2019.

Firsts, after the death of a loved one, can be triggers of grief that still lingers in the heart and mind. They can awaken a loneliness for that individual, as well as for who you were with them … for not only are they gone, but so is the part of you that was loved, adored uniquely by them.

So when I recently boarded the plane headed in the direction of my life’s beginnings, as I returned to my childhood home and family … I was so very aware that there would be one missing from that reunion.

There was a great part of me
that feared
that the weight of his absence
would be crushing …
but it wasn’t.

Though he is no longer there,

no lingering hugs that speak the words of the heart,

no squinty eye smiles from eyes so blue,

no fresh biscuits from the oven,

no information about houses for sale in their area (hints to move ‘back home’)

… he lives on.

I felt his life as my brother offered to drive me from the airport, the long way, so I could see the sights (and as he cringed when I shut the car door too hard).

I felt his life in the lingering embrace of my other brother, surprised to see me standing in his driveway (and in his use of ‘huh’ when he didn’t hear what was said the first time).

I saw his life in my nephews eyes, shining bright.

I heard his life in my niece, as she greeted me with warmth and unhindered excitement.

I felt his life in the stories my mum shared … so many stories that speak of a life … not perfect at all, but a life well lived.

He lives on …

It is a bit disturbing to admit that it wasn’t crushing to return …

but he wasn’t absent, he wasn’t missing.

The best of who he was still is …

it exists in pieces,

shared by each of us.

The seeds of his life have been planted in us and they keep growing,

for he lives on … on both coasts.

One day, while there, I was walking around the streets of the neighborhood of my parent’s home with their dog. A man, walking toward me, said, “is that Daisy?” I nodded and introduced myself. In very basic language, he went on to tell me that he and my dad spoke often. That he was a nice man. That he missed my dad. I told him I miss him too. We walked and talked a bit more … his simple expressions of remembrance of my dad filled my heart … he’s still here, in Bill too.

There was no grief in this visit for me. Only memories of a good life and evidence that the seeds he planted continue to grow.

Read Full Post »

An oldie but a goodie image 😉

Here in Canada, turkeys are a-roasting this weekend as we pause to give thanks for all that makes up life and living.

For me, Thanksgiving is always connected to our youngest, our son.

At 10:10am, on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 10, he breathed in the air of life and I inhaled gratitude … for life is tender, fragile, not guaranteed.

Our very own Ben 10 is one I have immense thanks for, so today, gratitude is great, celebration is due.

As I feel and know gratitude for him, I pray that he always live a life of gratitude.

For gratitude is our exhale, and it is in the breathing out of thanks that gratitude is inhaled.

When we sit around a table, as we bow our heads in thanks for our food, his grace is always one of thanks.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, when he offered thanks for the food, for his sisters, for his parents. This is not odd for him to do, for he knows where who is the Giver. Yet, on this particular day, I was not feeling particularly worthy of such appreciation.

Since that day I have thought numerous times about his offering of thanks … for one who had not been graceful to him just hours earlier. His gratitude, despite imperfection from the one he expressed thankfulness for, has been a new lesson for me.

It is easy to be thankful

for food … when it tastes appealing
for work … when we are enjoying it
for education … when we are succeeding
for people … when we are in good relationship with them
for the new day … when it is sunny

Yet, gratitude is not simply for the things that feel good at the time, for our thanks does not come after, but before the blessing. Thanks is the attitude of faith in the One who gives, not an acceptance for what has already been received.

Gratitude is the attitude that preexists the reality of what we are given … whatever it may be.

In being PRE-thankful … in ALL things, we are preparing for the good, bad and ugly that comes to us in life. We are being cognizant that gratitude is due, even though our mortal self may suffer. This is a great mystery, yet, for those who practise gratitude in all things … a peace that passes human understanding is the gifted result.

Ben knows this. He lives this life of gratitude in all things. He is not perfect, for his closest teachers (that would be his parents) have not modelled this consistently, his humanness fights against such illogical practise. Yet, as I hear him give thanks, for those who have let him down, I am encouraged that his life is heading in the right direction.

Happy birthday Ben. My encouragement to you today, are from the words of Paul,

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Read Full Post »

Months ago I began writing a blog post. The title, above, was all I wrote. Though I do not remember what exactly I planned to write, I know that I planned to reflect on our anniversary, as we reached the milestone of 32 years married.

And here we are, 32 years under our belts and a title for a blog post.

So, what is a promise?

  • a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen (Oxford Dictionary)
  • a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

But, these are nouns, things like a piece of paper, a marriage certificate, a legally binding document.

A marriage is more than paper and ink, more than a one-time declaration.

Marriage is a living entity. A moving, breathing organism. So, to define a promise we also need to look at it’s verb definitions:

  • to tell someone that you will certainly do something (Cambridge Dictionary)
  • to undertake to do something in the future (Free Dictionary)
  • to give ground for expectation (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

It is here, in the verb definitions, that our understanding of what a promise is takes form and brings understanding … understanding not just in words, but with feet to put it into practise.

Let’s be quite honest here, promises are not easy.

To make this marriage promise-making even more difficult, they are promises made in ignorance … trust. For neither knows what events, challenges and decisions are to come, that will poke and prod us as individuals and as a couple, that will change us, that will change the face, behaviors and mind of the one to whom we make these promises.

  • to have and to hold from
  • for better for worse
  • for richer for poorer
  • in sickness and in health
  • to love
  • cherish

Hubby is not the man I made those promises to …

and I am not the woman who he made those promises to either.

We have changed. Changed in how we live and think. Changed in how we spend our time. Changed in how we spend our money. Changed our location of living. Changed in our perspectives about issues that are important. Changed in how we see the world. Changed in how we see each other.

yet …

(and I can only speak for me)

I made a promise to you …

till death us do part …

And a promise should not be kept with gritted teeth, but with intent to make good what was said.

For the promise I made did not come with a caveat … no conditions or limitations.

It was not a promise to our marriage if … but even if.

Marriage is the covenant that God chooses to show, to reflect his holiness.

This promise-making is what can bring us closer to understanding the love of God (the groom) for His bride (the church). His promise is eternal, unconditional, unwavering and has far more to do with the promise maker (God) than the one to whom the promise is made (the bride).

It is not promise making for the sake of our happiness, but to bring us closer to THE promise-maker!

We must continue to hold firmly to our declarations of love, of faith. The one who made the promise is faithful.

Read Full Post »

It’s a thing … a rather big thing,

if you look at social media posts on the first week of school.

Kids, all clean and smiling (real of forced), often standing in front of the door to their house, sometimes holding a sign recording the grade they are about to begin. Sometimes even parents … if they work in schools, because, let’s face it, if we work in schools there is a part of us that hasn’t moved beyond the glory days of school.

I have those pics, in photo albums and on memory sticks. I remember trying to acquire them … often with much insistence, schedule-juggling, bribery and the potential that we would be late for the first day of school (horror of horrors). As the years meandered on, the first day of school picture morphed into the first week(s) of school picture, for that one shot is a difficult one to remember, to organize.

I love those images and the memories they hold … not the memories of the battle to get them taken, but the memories of each child at the age represented. Heck, let’s get real here, they could have been taken in February of that school year and the cockles of my heart would still be warmed by the flashbacks my momma’s heart would experience glancing at the faces from past years staring back at me.

These pics are reminders of an entrance to a new phase of schooling, of life. They are markers along the schooling journey … they represent growth, change, development. They are also images that represent hard work, accomplishment and, for those of us who follow Christ, they are images that remind we parents that what is done is done in His strength, His faithfulness.

Like the Israelites.

They too had 12 markers, but not photos. These markers with twelve stones, representing the 12 tribes of Joshua. God himself told Joshua to create a memorial with a stone from each tribe. These stones were to be a reminder for all time of the miracle of their crossing the Jordan River.

Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, … and they are there to this day.

Joshua 4: 4-7, 9

As a parent of now adult children, I look back on those first day of school pictures differently than at the time. At the time they were hurried images of my littles. Now I look at them and think of the faithfulness of God, who walked through each year with them, protecting them, loving them, challenging them, teaching them.

Read Full Post »

In our neck of the woods, today is the day!

The day that summer break ends and school begins.

The new clothes are donned, the lunch kit doesn’t yet have that funky odor, the knapsack packed with binders, pencils and calculators (as one who spends her work days helping students with math, please buy them a calculator if they are in high school … there are only so many one can acquire in her desk drawer).

There is excitement in the air, as all things are new, fresh.

With this beginning of school there are so many other clubs, teams, lessons etc. that are also resuming.

Now is when students and parents are signing up for these extracurricular activities, with great anticipation of competitions, skills development and new learning.

And that is a good and fun part of all of these activities,

but …

Parents, there is something else that kids need. They need it this school year, but they also need it so that they grow to be healthy, well-balanced adults.

It’s margin … and it has little to do with money investments (although … there is certainly an investment angle to it).

Margin is best described in comparison to the margins we leave when writing on a piece of paper. We do not begin writing at the very top left corner of a piece of paper and continue to the bottom right. Instead we write in the middle, leaving a space, a margin, around our writing.

This is good writing practise … it is also a good life practise.

Parents, consider ensuring that there is margin around the to-dos in your kids days. Not just margin for sleeping and eating, but margin for exploration, discovery, wonder. Green therapy (being outdoors), playing board games together, reading a book, baking cookies, playing road hockey, taking the pooch for a walk.

These are the elements in a day that can refill their cups, instill the practise of life learning, remind them of one greater than them. It can give their brains time to rest, time to grow.

This margin is not to sit and just stare, solo, at a screen. It is time in their schedules to explore, to breath, to be nourished by the greater things, the things that lead us to contemplate, to ponder, to talk to God.

This margin will actually give your kids more … more energy, more productivity, more creativity, more capacity to learn, to live.

You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

Haggai 1:6

Read Full Post »

One of the best things in my life have been those people who are a step ahead of me.

Talking to those married a few years, when we were newlyweds. Chatting with dog owners, when we were considering adding a dog to our household (who am I kidding … when I was considering adding a dog to our household). Getting parenting advice at various stages prior to our kids entering those stages.

To glean, not just from books, but from real life people, who have been deep in the trenches of life is to have found gold.

Recently, as I sat with a gem of a woman, who is a wife, a mom, grandmother and fellow follower of Christ, I asked her what she sees her role to be, as a mom to her adult kids.

She barely paused,

“encourager”

So, I came home and looked at the Bible to find uses of the word encourage in its pages.

If I were to say who I think is the best example of an encourager in the Word of God, I would have to say it is Paul. As he spoke and wrote to the various churches, encouragement is frequently on his lips.

His example of encourager is not one of Pollyanna, sugar-coated, I have plans that won’t harm you sort of encourager. His example is that of cheering others on, even though he is in prison. Caring for and sustaining the churches with his words.

He encouraged whether they were on track or they forgot to board the train.

There is no way to explain how significantly he was motivated to encourage these churches, except to say that he loved …

he loved God and he loved those who God had given him to lead in how to follow the example of Jesus.

It is no different for us, who have children … adult or littles.

But for those of us with adult children, our role is different. With young children (still under our roof) we are teaching, correcting, nurturing, looking after basic needs, etc. But, when they move out to form lives independent of ours, we no longer direct them, for that is what independence is about (though, we do cherish their returns and sharing of their lives adventures with us).

We are to be encouragers … as I write those words, I flashback to when I was their ages. Those twenty-something years are exciting ones, years of trying new things, establishing who you want to be, the direction you want to go. They are years of confusion and self doubt too.

Lets face it, at any age of adulthood (or any age of life) we need cheerleaders, encouragers, someone in our courts who we know will be there … whether we are winning … or losing.

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, says :

“Therefore encourage one another 
and build each other up …”

Thanks friend, for encouraging me to be an encourager to my adult kids.

Read Full Post »

This is the time in the year, in this annual season,

when you are tired, my child.

I see it on your face, hear it in your voice …

you carry it on your shoulders.

Your shoulders …

they were what I noticed first when you were born.

They were unlike those of your sisters.

I remember marvelling at how straight and strong they appeared.

You were a long anticipated gift from God.

Each day of your pre-birth life prayed over … for the next day was not guaranteed.

Each movement was cherished.

Your birth, peaceful and unhurried.

unhurried … you have, from your beginnings, had your own timeline.

Then you burst into this life with robust cries, fists clenched and man shoulders to boot.

You were embraced, kissed, held (and had your eyes poked by your adoring sisters).

A boy born to three motherers and a father … who were so thankful to have you with us.

Your heart is soft. Your shoulders are strong.

As a child you played with little figures of super heros, watched their movies and shows, dressed as them at Halloween. You have grown into one who is bothered, grieved by injustice.

You want to make right the wrongs. You desire to fix broken pieces. You yearn to be personally involved in seeking justice. Your eye is ever on the ideal, what is best.

This is who you are, in the most natural way.

May you use these gifts of strength and gentleness in your whole life. May you seek to find where God can best use this combination of strengths in our world.

Know that you have been loved since your very beginnings.

Don’t ever forget the gift that you already are to so many.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time …

that is how fairy tales begin …

and they end with a perfectly tied up bow, with the assurance that they all lived happily ever after.

Leaving the reader with a contented sigh.

My dear, your story very much started with a once upon a time beginning … kind of.

As our second, first pregnancy, your beginnings were shrouded in fear … but they were also blanketed in anticipation, hope and desire for your life to be part of ours.

From the first moment we were aware of your presence, we prayed for you (realistically, that began well before any knitting needles were picked up (Psalm 139:13)).

Though there were warning signs that elevated our fears and brought us to our knees, as I look back now, I see you were quite comfortable in your own little womb. Perhaps it was the aquatic environment, the warmth, the ability to set your own schedule.

When you emerged you did so with a loud battle cry, alerting us to your presence, which filled us with such relief and thankfulness that overflowed from our hearts down our cheeks.

You are a life striver, a life saver … I think this is why your life has been one of helping others.

From teaching swimming to littles who were fearful of getting their toes wet, to helping those whose life is in danger because of substance addictions, you have spurred others to strive.

You have literally helped the same ones who have spat in your face, called you horrible names and threatened your life.

Life saving has become part of you, whether in the swimming pool, having to call social services when parent’s drug abuses are endangering their children, or while administering Narcan in the McDonald’s drive thru.

The thing is … the life saver often gives their all to helping others … leaving little resources for themselves.

And … maybe it is time to direct your life saving skills and strengths back toward yourself.

After years of health struggles, that continue still today, you are rather beat up and bruised. Rather worn and wounded.

You’ve heard that often used metaphor “put on your own mask first before assisting others.”

Girl, it is the time to catch your breath, to inhale the life-preserving oxygen that is central to our human creation.

Breathe deeply.

For you have been so loved, so wanted … you were our own once upon a time,

since before your first breath.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

Hey you, who I love, let me tell you a story …

a love story,

your story.

The thing is, I have held on to it, as though it is my story, and mine alone.

Then, in the middle of the night, like a whisper that screams loudly into one’s heart,

I knew that I had to give it back to you.

That you needed to hear it, with your heart.

That you needed to own it, possess it,

as your own.

It is the story of you.

The dream you were, the battles fought for your presence in our life, this life, your life.

The sadness, the sorrow, the struggles that came before you …

those heartaches that led us to you.

I recalled our first awareness of your presence, our excitement, hope and fears.

I shared that almost right after that, shadows fell,

the fight was on!

We fought, I fought,

YOU fought.

From the moment you had a physical presence your determination and perseverance were already obvious.

Then, on your very first birthday, you were born, silent and still. No rosy cheeks, no loud warrior cries.

We thought this was the end of your beginning.

But, you are a fierce force and your cries rose to fill the room, our hearts.

Your pre-birth struggle to live, your first year of adjusting to life on the outside …

those were the building blocks of your greatest strengths.

You have, from a young age, had an uncanny ability to feel the sadness in others, to see people only through the lens of human, to comfort and fight for those who cannot do so themselves.

You offer gentleness to others.

Now I ask you to apply that gentleness to yourself. That you fight for you. That you see yourself only through the lens of being human.

Remember that you were and are, a highly anticipated gift, that you have so much to offer this world, that today is just one day, but “tomorrow is always fresh” (LMM).

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

Read Full Post »

Charlie Mackesy

Father’s Day can be difficult to celebrate … what to get dad? how to celebrate one who may shy away from celebration? dad may live far away? he may no longer be alive? he may have never been in your life? he may have failed you in a myriad of ways?

Father’s Day can also be difficult to be the focus of celebration … how does a giver joyfully receive? how does the one who is often the other parent adjust to the focus of everyone’s attention? how does one navigate this day where there are no children to father? how does a dad spend this day who has buried his child? how does a man navigate a father’s day full of regrets? how does he endure a day when the phone doesn’t ring, the door doesn’t open?

Father’s Day can be difficult to celebrate …

The Bible says much about fathers, fatherhood, being sons and daughters. Yet, for those for whom this day is more of a struggle, there is one verse that I think speaks to the struggle of Father’s Day (1 John 3:1) :


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

For those who are the children who struggle with this day, I tell you that God is the father to the fatherless (physically, emotionally, spiritually). He is the good father, who will never leave. He sacrificed his best, his all for your eternity, both here in the is life, and the one to come. He will never let you down, he is always present.

For those who are dads who struggle with this day, God is your father too. He knows fatherly love, and sacrifice, and loss, and rejection. He knows the loneliness of the quiet of this day.

For all who struggle, whether as children or fathers, if we are children of the God of creation, if we have been given such love and grace from Him, may we bear his image in how we love and offer grace to those we call dad, son and daughter.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Roadtirement

"Traveling and Retired"

Karla Sullivan

Progressive old soul wordsmith

Becoming the Oil and the Wine

Becoming the oil and wine in today's society

I love the Psalms

Connecting daily with God through the Psalms

Memoir of Me

Out of the abundance of my heart ,I write❤️

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

itsawonderfilledlife

looking for wonder in everyday life

What Are You Thinking?

Theology is a conversation, and you're invited.

Sealed in Christ

Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Giving a unique view and input on information to help individuals establish a concrete perspective on terms, words, topics and the world around them.

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Raise Them Up

Parenting with Purpose