Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Star

      Centuries ago, wise men, scholars of the night sky, saw a light of significance and gave up all to follow it. The Bible seems to point to a journey of about two years. We don't know how many wise men there were and we don't know their origins. But we can surmise this - they recognized a God thing when they saw it. And I got to thinking. What was the "star" that showed itself to me, that set me on a life- long journey to seek the face of God?  Was it that overwhelming feeling at age seven that Christmas was about Christ and not Santa? Was it that lingering voice in the back of my mind that whispered conviction as I grew to adulthood? Maybe, but the day I started the no-turning-back journey started with a letter.
        The message of the Light of the World was expressed in a fourteen-page letter to me at a low time in young adulthood. A childhood friend, wrote to me of her rebirth. I knew her well. We had tripped through our teenage years pushing the envelope of all that was good and right. Seekers both, we had questioned and read and sought truth. We made huge blunders on the way, fell into pits that had dire and lifelong consequences. But we were looking. We wanted to know.
         And in 1977, my friend came to both the end and the beginning. She met Christ. And she presented her findings to me in that letter. That was the star in the east for me. I picked up a Good News Bible at the second hand bookshop and just couldn't put it down. And today, I'm still following that Light.
        So, I ask you, has there been a "star" in your life? A God moment that turned your heart toward His light?

It's Bigger

       Sitting in church this morning, I had a moment of explosive clarity, that I have allowed life to become an orderly series of one of two things...."accomplishable goals" or "worry blocks."  I seem to move from task to task, from predicament to plight.  The "accomplishable goals" follow the predictable path: a need is expressed, a task presented, a goal is set and eventually it is ticked off the list. 
       But the "worry blocks" are different. Something beyond my control springs up.  I stew, plan, freak, try to work it through, all the while praying... praying to calm down and trust my Lord. He says all things work together for my good, (Romans 8:28), and I believe Him. But, oh, it is a struggle sometimes. The process continues for days, weeks or months, and then all is either resolved, or momentarily forgotten, relegated to the back burner. In the last decade, there was one "worry block" that lasted almost two years. I wouldn't say it was a daily struggle, but at least conservatively, two or three days a week, a wave of soul-sucking anxiety would take over. And the fight for my peace was on.  And at the end of this dilemma, all was resolved with great victory. Looking back, I realize that there was not one thing I could have done to make it happen. I just needed to look up, keep quiet and wait on God.
        Slow learner....almost this same thing repeated itself this year. And again, the same pattern of me trying to make things happen. Nothing I said or did had any effect. The only one who needed to hear my voice was the Lord. And again, He made it all work together, for all good. And once more I am at peace.
        Oh, that I would learn to trust the Prince of Peace. To be still and let God be God. To trust Him. To know that as I "trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, in all my ways acknowledge him and He will make my paths straight!"  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Brief Moment in Time

Last night, my son dug up our old Sony video camera. We had purchased it in 1999 when we were leaving the west coast to move here to Ontario. Using it to sieze and corral every bit of what we loved and were leaving behind, we took tapes and tapes of footage of the pack and move. There were tapes where the video was strapped to the dashboard of our '84 Tercel as we roamed favourite and familiar sideroads through forest and oceanside running personal commentary so we'd never forget. "Oh, I've always loved that house. Or quick, turn here, this is where we saw the herring run."  Knowing human memory can fail, we wanted proof that we had lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world. That for a precious five years, we lived in a smalltown beach community.

The camera did its job well. As each of our friends came to say goodbye, some local and some travelling from the mainland to spend scheduled weekends with us, we talked of the past, how we came to know and love each other and looked toward a future where the telephone would be the only link.

Watching the tapes last night, all I could think was that we were all so young. My son was only 16. His fresh sweet face was registering great glee over a newly aquired drivers licence and in many takes, he was the driver. He was leaving his home, but I don't recall him being negative in the least. He looked forward to a new start.

What I saw on my own face was quite different. Younger yes, but not fresher. My expressions were sadder, more harried. Shots of us carrying items out for a huge garage sale, of best friends meeting for a good-bye party singing and praying together after a big feast. Pasted smiles at times, when I wanted to collapse and scream, "why are we doing this?" 

For I loved my time on the Sunshine Coast. Though financially it had been a challenge, its beauty surpassed it all.  On this coast, we had lived in a heritage house on the beach, rented a little cabin on 11 acres of wood and built a big Cape Cod style house of our own.  We were accustomed to daily breaths of salt air and views of changing seas. No wonder we wanted it all on film. 

At one point on the tape, we were standing on the wharf in Roberts Creek panning the ocean and it struck me that just about everyone we knew and loved had come to visit and stand in that place. Family, friends from far and wide. Because it was beautiful. Because it was remote. Because for some reason, we were there and we were loved.

Much time has passed. Though we have fallen in love with Ontario, its beauty, its variety, most of my closest friends are on those tapes. Like us, many have left the coast....for Europe, for other parts of Canada and even the US. But for one brief moment, we all lived there together and I'm thankful for the old video camera that tied it all up like a gift to show it again and again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Remembering the Little Ones

          You know, I grew up in a home where my mother emphatically imposed her ideas on us that pets were a nuisance and were grand contributors to chaos and dirt in a home. Therefore, we had limited experience with pets. We had a little bird named Penny, a budgie that drank from our cereal bowls and pooped in our hair and on the sheers in the living room. Penny escaped one day and took her liberty beyond our back screen door. She didn't roam far and reappeared in the willow tree about a week later. She flew from the tree at my father's call and landed on his shoulder, but was never herself again. She came back starving, depleted and seemingly brain damaged. She could no longer judge distances and flew into walls and eventually drowned in the dishwater. A sad day for the pet deprived kids at our house. That, and a "dog for one day" fiasco are the only personal experiences I had with pets as a child. As an adult, I had a budgie for a short time when my son was little and it met its demise by flying into a wall heater. My son and I cried for days over "Mickie." I understand how attached one can be to an animal.

          Today, my good friends had to put their elderly cat to sleep. Sparing her of longsuffering from a number of ailments must have been no easy decision. That tiny little lady, Elfie, was over 16 years old. She showed up at their door when they lived on acreage in western Canada, seemingly out of nowhere and she became their constant companion. She was named after Mount Elphinstone, the mountain in the coastal range in the distant view from where they lived. Elfie was there to greet the birth of their baby son a year later and shortly after made the journey with the family to the Netherlands. She was a delicate, longhaired cat with unusual markings and a gentle way about her. She liked to curl up in a ball in the bowl on the table.

       My friends will long remember the joy Elfie brought into their family over all these years. There are no words for this particular brand of loss. It's just plain sad. She may have been a little one, but her family presence was great.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Delightful Tidbits

        In both Germany and Holland there were a few things beyond the expected that were purely liefsome. Just out of the are some in completely random order....

        Like this vendor selling fricadels on the Alexanderplatz in Berlin. There is actually a burning grill strapped around his shoulders. Fricadels are like fast food - a sausage-like thing made of ground pork and herbs.

And these walnuts were for sale....just on a little stand in front of a house in Geithoorn, where tourists walk along the canals.

All over Geithoorn, little boats were for rent for canal cruises. All colours and shapes, I was partial to these green ones.

The Lei linden Trees - The Dutch place poles between the trees
and weave them together.
And the hondentoilets - what a civilized way to deal with a doggy's doodoo.

There was a mourning dove roosting in our friend's Catalpa tree.

Finding we were on actual Canadian soil in the middle of a forest in Overijssel - at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery. Thirteen acres was set aside by the Dutch government as an official cemetery for those Canadians who lost their lives in the Netherlands.

At the gateway to the Markerwaarddijk, there is an 85 foot, 60 ton metal statue of a crouching man. Designed by Anthony Gormley, it is his commentary on the concern of the ever-changing environment. He says,

“One of the known environmental changes that is happening is the rising of the sea level through global warming,” explains Gormley. “It is critical to me that at the time of its making this work reacts with the viewer, the walking viewer, on the top of the polder and that the surface that the viewer stands on is the surface that the work stands on. The work cannot have a plinth. Over time, should the rising of the sea level mean that there has to be a rising of the dike, this means that there should be a progressive burying of the work.”

It would be sad to see this giant crouching man be slowly covered with water.

So there you have it....a few thoughts, random indeed, of things unexpected in the Netherlands and Germany.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And There was Berlin

     When our Dutch friend Hans asked his friends and coworkers where he should take the Canadians for a few days, he heard a resounding, "Berlin."  Now this was not something I would have expected. What an experience. We took a six hour drive on the Autobahn due east. Not one to drive at breakneck speed, Hans kept it steady as Audis and Porches flew past going 180kmp. I had always heard about the Autobahn, its reputation for speed, but it really was something to see for myself. I have one heavy-footed, German friend here in Canada who has a penchant for acceleration and now I know why. She was raised on German roads.

The Ampelmannchen - Berlin's beloved symbols on crossing light

        As we came into Berlin, we were disappointed. It seemed dirty and run down, crowded. But when we turned a corner onto Charlottestrasse, things changed rapidly. Exquisite architecture - Corinthian columns on many buildings and many cathedrals and embassies lined the streets. After a quick check in at our hotel, we headed out for the Brandenburg Gate and to walk where the wall had come down. We walked till blistered and saw famous shops selling chocolate and cars and expensive jewelry. We ended our day at the "Old Berliner" restaurant to enjoy "Crispy Knuckle" - a pork delicacy. And we had to try the Raspberry Wheat beer...a Berlin specialty.

The Brandenburg Gate - the entryway to the boulevard of linden trees
Up the "Beanpole" a television tower with panoramic vistas of the city

      Last February, we were contacted by Hans with a quick request for our full names and birthdates. Hans said it was for a surprise. We couldn't figure that one out, but when presented with the opportunity to tour the Reichstag, the German parliament building, we were delighted. Entering the building was by appointment only; the reason we needed to be registered for the tour.  What a slick operation. After going through security and showing our passports and having our purses scanned, we entered an elevator, were given headsets and instructed to head into the beehive. What a fete of German engineering. We were given the history of Berlin and Germany in about a 45 minute tour. As we walked up the beehive, we were instructed where to stop and where to look - a quick way to pack in the information. The parliament actually sits in a room under the hive. The hive is open to the elements at the top where air is let in and adjusted to best benefit those inside. Truly amazing.
Inside the beehive... the parliament sits in the room below this glass floor.
The Beehive - Inside the old architecture sits this structure.
One angle of the Reichstag

 On both evenings after hours of walking and looking we pulled up chairs and parked ourselves in the Gendarmarket, a public square with the German cathedral on one side, the French on the other and the opera house in the middle. This wide expanse was the stuff of movies. To sit and sip good coffee in this place with dear friends was the perfect end to perfect days. I don't know who recommended Berlin as a place for us to see, but I am truly thankful they did. God bless our friends, Hans and Jo, who arranged the whole thing.

The Gendarmarket

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

These Are A Few of my Favourite Things....

     Favourite places, times and memories....

The little town of Schermerhorn near the farm. This photo was taken just before 10:00pm.

The bikes just about anywhere. This one was in Edam.

The town of Edam with its Great Church, canal and cheese market.

The Palace - Het Loo, once the residence of Dutch Royalty in Apeldoorn.

The river-front, the narrow streets and crooked church in Kampen.

The Afsluitdijk - the dijk that helped to create the polder-land.

The glass angel-man in Zwolle.

The Cheese Market in Alkmaar. 

Geithorn - a village with no roads, just canals.


      We spent such a short time in Amsterdam, that it is nearly impossible to make a judgement of any kind. When I say I was in Amsterdam, people ask about the negative aspects of this great city - the "coffee houses", the streetwalkers. We saw none of this. What we experienced was a beautiful city with great crowds of walkers and cyclers, tourists and locals all vying for places to stroll, ride, sit and drive. I realize we were visiting during the height of tourist season, but oh my, it was overwhelming to be there. Traffic was abominable. We cancelled plans to take a canal tour, as it was just too stressful to find our way to parking for the boats. Our afternoon in the big city was cut short and we ran for the solace of the farm.

"I amsterdam" in front of the Rijksmuseum
But I get ahead of myself. The early part of the day was the fulfillment of a dream for me. Having studied Art History all those years ago in university, visiting both the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum in one day was a long-awaited joy.  The Rijksmuseum, a castle of a place, has been closed for over ten years for repair and renovation, but a number of wings are open to the public. There in those rooms, we got to see Rembrandt's "The Nightwatch." Standing there seeing it in person was surreal. I remember a visiting lecturer at school spending two hours explaining the details of the piece. Unfortunately, I forgot most of it, but the enormity of the painting did not disappoint. There were hundreds of pieces to fill the senses, but my favourites were the small Vermeers. For years, I'd pour over glossy reproductions, but here I was spellbound in front of oil panels that Jan Vermeer had actually touched. The light! And a wonderful aspect of the Rijksmuseum - they allow photo taking.

Vermeer's "Milk Maid"

Rembrandt's "The Nightwatch"
And then there was the Van Gogh museum. No photos allowed. My husband snuck a few pics from under his coat. No, we didn't use a flash, no harm was done. But to stand feet from "The Sunflowers" and many self portraits, having become so familiar with them from calendars and texts was other-worldly. We rented MP3's for running commentary as we walked through the gallery. And I really wanted to purchase something from the gift shop as a remembrance of the place; but when I saw Vincent's sunflowers on everything from scarves to pencil cases, to umbrellas and lunchboxes, I could not lay out a single Euro. The merchandise cheapened the experience for me, so I walked away with some postcard memories. But I was feet from Vincent's handiwork. Imagine he sold only one painting in his short lifetime and now everyone knows his name.

Holland Day Trips

Wee Jelly Fish Catching the Sunset's Rays
One way to cram in as much learning and sight-seeing as possible in a short European trip is to station one's self in a central location and head out by car daily to explore. De Anna Hoeve, the farm was the starting point. From there, we took jaunts to the North Sea just before sunset, the city of Amsterdam, and two of my most favourite places of all - Edam and Volendam.

The North Sea - We headed out in late afternoon to Egmond, a sea-side town on the North Sea, the gateway to the North Atlantic. As we crossed the countryside ocean wards, old, traditional windmills made way for a forest of wind turbines, many far out in the ocean. The beach was like most salt water beaches, with sunbathers in all manner of dress, (and I'm told "undress" at times). Nestled into the dunes were rows and rows of rental "huts."  These summer boxes could be rented for days or weeks at a time for storage of beach equipment of all sorts. How convenient for repeat seasonal visitors! And to my fascination, quarter-sized jellyfish were washed up on the sand and we were advised to watch where we walked.

Beach Storage at the Foot of the Dunes

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Holland - De Anna Hoeve

     The pastoral flavour of the town of Nijverdal is not limited by any means to the province of Overijssel. Every place we went in Holland, barring Rotterdam and Amsterdam, proved to be an idyllic mix of water management and creative land usage. In our second week in Holland our friends surprised us with a six day trip to the west where they had rented a house on a working farm near Schemerhorn. De Anna Hoeve was once a barn. Thatched peat ceilings, low windows and massive beams remain in a modernized home that sleeps eight people comfortably.

Once a a house.

De Anna Hoeve Farmhouse Kitchen....thatched ceilings and beams....

Surrounded by managed ditches, this was a place to fish! I was intrigued by the technique used to catch fish. The pole was not the six foot one with a spinning reel attached that I was used to. And the fish knew it. With that style of reel, not one fish was caught. Hans used a rod measuring six metres. It was equipped with a swinging line and a tiny hook. Little balls of bread were attached and as the bread hit the water, the fish hit the bread. Hans caught a number of small colourful fish, but I couldn't manage that rod...way too heavy. There was one elusive monster that we chased for days; we could see it make its rounds about once per hour. Right below the surface, it left a perceptible wake. But try as we might to cast right in front of it, it was having no part in our plan. We also tried to use a bait trap to catch eels, but to no avail. I was both relieved and disappointed when we retrieved the trap after it had been left in the ditch overnight.

My Ontario methods did not impress the fish!

Staying at De Anna Hoeve we watched the cows cross the ditch bridge daily and the horse graze right across from us. Huge rabbits and many ground birds shared the land. Miles from a city, the farm held it's own noise...braying, mooing, cooing....and of course the tractors that were cutting hay for feed. We spent much of our time on the deck watching and listening and breathing in the peace of this place.

This home proved to be a most restful place and a base for us as we struck out to surrounding towns and cities to take in all we could of Holland.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Best Part of Summer, 2012

This summer, for the first time in my life I left the continent of North America and headed across the Atlantic for Europe. Our plan was to spend a couple of weeks with our beloved friends. In planning the trip, we said simply that we wanted to see their life, their joys, their favourite places, meet friends and family....see how and where they spend their days. We knew on some level they loved their country, but I don't think in their descriptions, they ever did it verbal justice. I still can't get my head around this and I am at a loss why. The trip was so far beyond my wildest imaginings that I don't know where to begin. We traveled through seven provinces over dykes and rivers, through river channels and forest roads that defy description. I don't know what I thought Holland would be, but it was a delight on every front. And having such perfect hosts was a gift I'll not ever forget.

I will try over these next few blog entries to describe what we experienced...

After a sleepless ocean-cross night, our friends fetched us from Schiphol in Amsterdam and drove across the country to the east province of Overijssel, to their home in Nijverdal. I was speechless. Even in a sleepy haze, the colour of the countryside, and the vast differences in the architecture was astounding. The first few houses I saw with thatched roofs I thought must be touristy places, storybook houses. But no. The houses look like that.

Brick and Thatched Roofs....the Dutch call them "Peat" roofs. Notice the woven willow fence to the left.

On that first night when we sleepily explored the town of Nijverdal two things stood out...I saw brick roads and brick houses. There was more brick than I was accustomed to. And I was stunned by the Dutch practice of perfect gardening. Every plot of land, whether outside small rowhouses or surrounding larger properties was manicured. Careful, artistic clipping of hedges and flower placement was evident wherever we looked. Hydrangeas of colours I'd never seen before took up whole front lawn areas. Woven fences sat at property lines and the biggest surprise of all was that small farms not only rubbed up against town boundaries at the outskirts, but were interspersed in neighborhood spaces. All land is used. I got the impression that the Dutch take no land for granted. They don't have the wide open spaces we take for granted in Canada, so they seem to demonstrate a love of what land they have.

A small farm around the corner from our friend's townhome. An interesting storage system for hay.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer 2012

Every time I sat down to write this summer, I was overwhelmed with the enormity of life. The time off from the busy school year was not the leisurely progression of one event to the next that I anticipated. The days were full. The basement called. The boxes of detritus that had been pitched into the storage room with the door hastily closed behind them now called in a whiny voice…sort me! So for what seemed like days on end, I sorted through boxes and closets and drawers and heaved six garbage bags to the curb and five to Goodwill.  Still unable to part with a smaller wardrobe (kept with high hopes or delusional thinking), the closets are still crammed. But drawers emptied quickly and leftover boxes are now labeled and stacked.  I had other aspirations as well…I would paint all the doors in the house and scour the mudroom. Nope, didn’t happen. That seemed too formidable. In the midst of all this, I planned for a new school year, and managed to do four paintings. (pictures not walls.) And two other big things..... more to come!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

And What Is With The Animals?

    Driving down the street in my own residential area at 5:30pm today, I came across a fox eating a live squirrel on my neighbour's front lawn. Now that's something you don't see every day! Zooming for the camera in this intense humidity, I worked up quite a sweat. I did approach the fox from the car, windows down, AC blasting. No way I was going to get out of the car. I'm not that brave. But that fox was only about 10 feet away and seemed completely unconcerned by my presence. Is it the heat that has caused this animal to promenade the front lawns of our street?

We're Having a Heat Wave, A Tropical Heat Wave...

        Summer. Yep, it's here.  Forty-two degrees celcius -  the humidex today and for me, it is just too much.  Yet, I am one of the blessed ones. I have an air conditioned home and car and my classroom has a window air conditioner that takes the edge off if nothing else.
        Have you noticed how everything seems more exaggerated when it's this hot? My students are much louder when these days come upon us. They seem to crash through doors and bang lockers and converse louder over the roar of the AC and I have to top them to get their attention. These sweaty-faced rascals have come to the near end of the school year and they are like greyhounds straining at tightly tethered leashes. I can hardly wait to set them to cope with this heat in swimming pools and camps, at their grandparents' houses and on camping vacations with friends and family. And as the rope slackens, I too am free. Long postponed novels and stretches of time to study and write and paint...time will be my own for a period. The heat is not a long-sought-after thing for me. But breezy summer days are upon us and I intend to spend as much time as possible out-of-doors this season.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Perigee moon

Side road darkness
Monopod at ready...
There she is!

17% bigger and 30% brighter
Nothing disappoints here

A united quest; A shared moment
Perigee of the heart
On Woodbine.

Supermoon, May 5, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Can you imagine how Jesus felt when day after day, he was the religious leaders of his day, neighbours He grew up with, and the angry in the crowds who followed? When He stood before his accusers, the Pharisees had no trouble drumming up those who would lie to suit their purposes. In the face of it, Jesus didn't defend Himself, He didn't plead His case. He knew who He was; He knew His destiny. What courage, what tenaciousness to stand in the face of trickery and deceit. 

On a very small level, this week, being falsely accused, I saw a tiny glimpse of what He must have felt. Unlike Jesus, I plead my case. I did not remain stoic in the face of this trial. I spoke with those in authority over me. I worked with the accuser to get to the reasons he felt this was necessary. And at the core of it all, I could actually pray for this young boy, who in a rage over being corrected on an assignment, felt he could liberally vent with a personal, vindictive slur against this old teacher.  How in the moment children live! If only they could see the hours we spend in the middle of the long nights wondering how to best encourage them, the evenings spent pouring over their workbooks and essays, trying to squeeze out marks and making labourious decisions over final grades, ever trying to be fair in our dealings and assessments. 

And isn't that the way? Like children, we cannot see behind the scenes and into the hearts of those who hurt. When someone rants out a verbal attack, he will never have enough information to judge rightly. He is in the moment and doesn't have all the facts. The Pharisees were "blind guides", completely without truth when it came to the identity of Jesus. Here they were, the leaders of the synagogue entangled in laws and traditions and couldn't recognize the Holy One standing in front of them. So they accused.

I learned something this week. Accusations, in whatever form, can be met head on with truth in quietness and trust of the One who can be our Champion in any situation. When guilty, best to admit it head on. When innocent, best to pray for those who accuse and try to bring closure with forgiveness and truth. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Elusive Words

There are words here, deep inside,
but I can't find them.
They peak from rough edges of stone walls,
but glancing once, twice,
gone as a vapor.

Are there keys, both brass and gold
In sodden pockets?
How to reach them
Digging once, twice
Only to find holes, absence.

In quietness and rest
Hope for change
Open doors to misty vistas
Now clearing where words appear.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Way Too Long

    With good friends battling cancer and the days and months and years mounting on the calendar, my husband and I are starting to fight the good fight for our health.  Would you mind if I I have been taking an on-line,  "wake-up call" type of course about the nature of disease and the elements of healthy living. Oh my. Sure wish I'd paid attention to this years ago.  But I'm happy to report that we have made radical changes in what is in our cupboards, fridge and cooking pots. For far too long we've lived as if these God-given bodies are immortal, all the while watching the mirror and noticing things thicken and descend. We've now decided to buy organic and we pay twice as much to purchase chemical-free and antibiotic-free meat. The pressure cooker we bought almost a year ago has been dusted off and is blowing off steam almost daily as we enjoy concoctions abundant in fresh vegetables and lean meats, complex grains and beans. My husband is a creative cook, a researched culinarian who is fearless is suffusing stews and pilafs with an abundance of spices. And my great delight is to return from work to tantalizing smells as I hit the driveway. The key is not too over-indulge, even though the food itself is healthy.

I've also finally committed to taking vitamins. For years I've balked at it, thinking it was all a hoax and would openly pooh-pooh those who lined up at the local health food store to carry out numerous jars. Taking a superfood like blue-green algae would never have occurred to me, had I not taken the time to reflect on its value. And now, I'm committed to upping the health factor. Small steps, one or two at a time.

Trying to move a bit more, as I learned the lymphatic system, the body's cleaner, doesn't have a pump and movement makes it work more effectively.

And then there is taking care of emotional health....trying to do what it says in Philippians 4:8, "...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."  What a battle sometime to keep thoughts positive, but the negative only has a detrimental effect on these bodies. 

So on we go....onwards and upwards!

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Unforgettable Birthday Moment

       Today is my birthday. I actually forgot about it until I got to work and someone wished me well. I don't think I've ever forgotten my birthday before. It's not like I hadn't thought about it earlier in the week, but just momentarily it slipped my mind. Surrounded by wonderful people, I received emailed messages and created e-cards throughout the day. There were phone calls from friends and of course my beloved son got me out of class. How wonderful to hear that voice.

       But one call touched me so that I can't stop weeping. My father, my beloved dad, called and said, "Wait, listen to this." And he played a little birthday song on a tiny hurdy-gurdy that had been in the drawer in his back room for years. He said he thought of it this morning, had no idea where the little music machine was, but "The Lord must have put my hand right on it," he said. So he delighted me with this birthday tune. 
       You see, I found out recently that my father has Alzheimer's. We've suspected for some time, and even though he was tested three years ago, by a simple oversight, we were never notified. My dear dad doesn't know this diagnosis. I pray he never does. When I found out, my heart was flooded with compassion and a deeper understanding of his daily trials. For him to remember the hurdy-gurdy and my birthday, is a gift I'll treasure always.