Thursday, 31 March 2016

Profound Truths by Susan L.

  At Bible study we watched a teaching by Carl McCade entitled "A Galilean Wedding". He speaks about the rituals surrounding the unique wedding practices of the Galileans and why Jesus uses them as a metaphor to teach His disciples.
  The tears flowed down like rain.
  All my ranting about the hydro isn't because I was anxious. It's because I was angry. Most of it is because I am on my own having to deal with all of this. When I say on my own, I'm talking about having someone here alongside me with skin on.
  I was angry because the town should have taken down the tree two years ago.
  I was angry because I was afraid: floods, not being here if the power went out again.
  I was angry at myself because of being so ill prepared.
  I was angry because I was so tired from all the anger.
  I was angry because it is so difficult for me to ask for help.
  I was angry because I am so darn capable! I have had to be!
  Then there was the big "D", being divorced. The foundation of all this anger.
  Thank You, Lord for deliverance.
  It was extremely difficult for me to relate to Jesus as my Bridegroom. Wedding analogies stirred up negative and often sad thoughts simply because no one can relate to something they do not know. My experiences coloured and twisted my understandings. I knew they were wrong but didn't know how to get past them.
  Last night's video broke down the walls. Thank You, Lord for answered prayers.
  There is much to think about but right now, this is a heart matter beyond articulation. All I can say is it is beautiful and good and awe filled and amazed and pure and holy.
  Once again I am forever changed.
  "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Rev 22:17

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Solutions by Susan L.

  I had a visit from two Hydro One workers this morning. They were in the driveway when I woke up so it meant heading out to find out what was what. Currently the power lines run behind our little row of houses which has been a problem. There are a lot of big trees. There is no easy access for any kind of work crew to get to it. This has been the second power failure in as many years due to storm damaged trees. They want to make things better, safer and easier for all concerned.
  Right now it's only the downed trees in my neighbour's yard and the fallen wires underneath them that are supporting the whole row.
  They are going to install a new hydro pole out front then bury the lines to the house. Yes! That will make things a whole lot safer.
  They had a look around the basement to see where the main panel was. They get my concerns about the sump. (The rush of Niagara Falls makes it hard to miss!) When any electrical work is done down there they will make sure the pump is hooked up to a generator. I left them my lockbox code to access a house key if I am not home when the electrician shows up to do the work.
  Hold on, there's knock at the door...the electrician is here to check out the best way to hook in the power panel to the planned, new feed. Boy, that was fast!
  Nothing will happen until new poles are installed. With crews still repairing broken poles elsewhere, it could be a couple of days.
  I confess I did something I don't normally do: a bit of name dropping. My step-brother works for Hydro One and is fairly high up. I asked the guys if they knew him. They did. What can I say? Every bit helps especially for a woman alone when it comes to this kind of thing. Sadly, we are often taken advantage of but that's another rant.
  There's so much to be thankful for. Perhaps the only name dropping should have been God's but then, He provided the connection to my step-brother. I'll be glad to see the sagging wire that crosses my back yard to the house removed. I am thankful for the farm experiences of a similar situation: burying hydro lines, rewiring work. It's where I learned the basics of electrical lingo and procedures. In fact, the farm life prepared me for everything about owning my own home. At least there's that. As for the rest? It can go in the trash.
  "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Mat 7:18

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Remarkable Men by Susan L.

   Sometime in the middle of the afternoon, this hydro crew showed up. I guess they were looking at clearing the downed line in my neighbour's back yard. It's buried under several massive trees and limbs. I guess that pile of timber needs the expert hand of lumberjacks.
  Everyone in my little row of houses has hydro now so all they did was clear away some of the pine trees that were touching it. Those are the ones that caught fire.
  They worked on it a bit then left, moving on to other more urgent matters. As of yesterday evening there were still many people without power.
  The weather was absolutely lousy. There were high gusts of arctic air, blowing snow and frigid rain. I am sure it made an already dangerous job all the more hazardous. The pole man's cleats slipped a couple of times on the slick surface.
  So here he is, roughly twenty feet in the air, swaying in the wind, carrying what has to be fifty pounds of equipment, when the ground crew sends a chainsaw up. He used it to cut the top of the tree off as he hung there by rope and belt.
  It wasn't a very big one but still...It made my own fears of that power tool seem rather, well, fearful. Like any tool, if used properly, it is safe. Hmmm...I am still not going to use one. Besides, it doesn't hurt to ask for help once in a while!
  So now my only concern is the sump pump. If they come to clear the downed lines and need to shut off the power if I am not home to fire up the generator, the basement will flood. I have to work every day this week. So, Lord, I pray they will not come when I am not home. You have provided everything that was needed during the crisis and provide everything I need when there isn't a crisis. Hear my prayer, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen!
  "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Ps 107:31

Monday, 28 March 2016

Wow! by Susan L.

  The last post was a bit of a frantic blast but it served to help me offload some of the stress. Since then the power came back on. The failure lasted only twenty-three hours. There are lots of  people still without power as crews continue to clear branches and power lines. A neighbour is continues to run on a generator. Their hydro pole snapped because a whole whack of trees came down and pulled everything with it. It may be a while for them because individual houses are at the bottom of the priority list.
  I went to my daughter's for a family dinner on Saturday. On the way I passed one of the hard working crews. Coming home some five hours later, they were still in the same area. It was a wonderful supper thanks to these dedicated men and women.
  There's something breathtaking and terrible about an ice storm. Every single blade of grass, every twig gets wrapped in glass. When the sun shines, the whole world sparkles. Then a crack and cascade of ice signifies yet another tree coming down under the weight of so much beauty.
  Yesterday was a perfect spring day. The sun was high, its warmth welcomed. As quickly as the ice had built up, it vanished. The ditches were burbling, the birds singing, perfect for starting a bit of cleanup. I have to wait for tomorrow to get a burn permit then I'll build a fire out front and burn as the branches get freed from the huge pile that's out there. It's tempting to get a chain saw but that's one tool that absolutely terrifies me so with shears and a bow saw, most of the pile should be taken care of except the bigger stuff. Then I'll ask around if anyone would be willing to come and cut up the bigger limbs.
  I just watched a pair of crows picking nest building twigs from the few remaining branches left on the big tree. I guess God is answering my prayers that the whole thing comes down!
  In all the stress confess I lost sight of God (forgive me, Lord). The fears and anxiety ran fierce. Most of it was my own doing by being so ill prepared for an event impacting such a vast area. I am much wiser but there's things to do to. There needs to be a place to store the two big, full gas cans out of the sun yet is easily accessible no matter the weather. There's must always be bottles of water in the fridge or it wouldn't hurt see about making my well pump run on a plug instead of being directly wired into a switch. I need to purchase a small heater of my own. (The basement got cold enough to see my breath.)
  I acknowledge, with heart felt gratitude, these things were provided in the moment they were desperately wanted. The Lord heard my need.
  God is good!
  "I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people." Ps 116:18

Friday, 25 March 2016

Too Much Adrenaline by Susan L.

  It's been a crazy twenty-four hours. Snow, ice pellets then a generous helping of freezing rain knocked the power out about nine thirty last night.
  In a frantic panic and rather worried about the trees all around. I hauled out the generator but couldn't get it to start. Bring it inside. It might be too cold. The water began creeping over the basement floor.
  Take it back outside. (Boy I am glad it's such a little one!)
  Huff. Puff. Pull.
  Is the choke set? Yup. The gas line valve is on open? Yup. (By this point I confess a few choice words escaped.)
  There's an ON switch. Remember? She purred like a kitten.
  Got the extension cords run to the pump. Got another one to a light in the living room. 
  Last light was like having a newborn in the house all over again. The genny stalled out a couple times so I sort of slept with one eye open and was outside every other hour.
There was a God moment. The power flickered on briefly around 3:30 AM. I'd left my bedside lamp on to wake me up if it did. It didn't last long. I lay there in the dark realising just how quiet it was. The genny had stalled out moments before this happened. The Lord spared me a major flood.
  By this morning my little gas can was bone dry. The power outages extended to over 100,000 homes. Nothing was open. Nothing was working. I thought my tree was bad. There were tons of them down all over town.
I managed to borrow a few drops of gas from a neighbour then called my daughter who came to the rescue with a couple of big cans of gas.
The camp stove came out. Coffee never tasted so good!
The house got cold really fast. No hydro, no heat. I hung a sheet on the living room doorway and lit a whole bunch of candles. The heat felt good! Then I remembered we have a couple of small, stand alone heaters at work. With my boss's blessing, it didn't take long to get it home. The living room quickly became an oasis of warmth.
  Tonight, sparked by a short in the power lines, a pine tree in a row of pine trees caught fire. Pine will burn hot and furious even if it's soaking wet so I called 911 right away. These trees are awfully close to our houses. The fire crew was here in a matter of minutes but thankfully it had burned itself out.
I know there are many men and women who are still out there working hard to get everyone's power back on.
Bless them Lord and keep them safe. Amen.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Asked Around by Susan L.

  After yesterday's post I decided to do a mini survey to see if anyone else had daymares. The person I asked gave me an awesome word that describes them beautifully: catastrophizing.
  According to PsychCentral, it means believing a situation will end up as a worse case scenario. When my car needed to go to the garage because it had a squeaky belt, thinking it might need a whole new engine is catastrophizing.
  The other aspect is more mental and is focused around negative, worry enforcing words. Chicken Little from the children's story crying, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" is a doom crier of the nth degree.
  I don't think my brief visits into horror fantasy are quite so bad simply because, most of the time, they get cut off and I turn my mind to better things.
  And a laugh bursts out at my own expense. There's an ice storm happening here with a potential for power outages. My mind starts thinking about the basement right away. A power outage means the sump pump will stop pumping the water out which means a flood. Thoughts of a foot or two of water down there, having to replace the furnace, the mess, the cleanup. Yup, that's catastrophizing for sure! The most water I have ever had to deal with is two or three inches.
  But there's things in place that can offset the worry. I have a generator and a full tank of gas in case the power goes out. Most of the stuff is off the floor. Best of all is a prayer that the power stays on!
  If it does flood, the floor will end up really clean!
  Gratitude, the best medicine next to laughter.
  I don't mean to make light of this. Catastrophizing can both suffocate and paralyze any actions or plans. Fear of the future can rob us of so much because it's easier to do nothing than to take a risk.
  Within the mental health field, there is often talk of self-fulfilling prophecy. We believe what we say. That's why it is so important to speak good things into the future and the present. Stinkin' thinkin' is an open invitation to the enemy of our souls and he is more than delighted to make life difficult.
  "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Eph 6:16

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Lifted Up by Susan L.

  Sometimes the most horrible thoughts flit through my head. The house burning down is a frequent visitor. Car crashes, falls down the stairs with the resulting broken bones, other life threatening injuries, explosions, and being trapped all make the occasional appearance in glorious Technicolor. This morning it was dropping my flute and it being mangled by its case. That's not as dangerous as others but it would affect me deeply. Those and other nightmarish mental wanderings pop up, unwanted, and often leave me feeling a bit rattled.
  Thankfully, they only last a few seconds. But those few seconds pull my awareness into another reality. Everything around me vanishes. I even heard the metallic crunch of my flute.
  "Really, Sue?" I ask myself, gasping, with eyes wide open in shock, "Where did that come from?"
  The grim thoughts are bound and laid at the foot of the Cross. Poof! It's over. Until the next time. Thank You, Lord, for teaching me not to dwell in them because these dark imaginings would steal my joy very quickly.
  If I think about it, most of them are based around feelings of helpless and fear because of events beyond my control. A lot of them have to do with loss as well. I wonder if they are symptomatic of PTSD? Are they simply a form of anxiety?
  There's a sense of truth about that last paragraph.
  Thank You, Lord, for answering yet another "Why?"
  I have never told anyone about this although the reasons for secrecy seem rather lame in light of this post. Shame has played a huge part: the idea that things are going so well, how is it possible such dark thoughts could rise? The judge says nice people don't think ugly thoughts. Then there's the worry that this is definitely not "normal" and therefore should not be voiced because it could be a sign of instability.
  Being in a mental hospital is often another dark, undesired daymare. Understandably so because that traumatic circumstance is based on lived experience. Even after all these years, the memories still haunt me as if it was yesterday. I guess those are real memories, a flashback, not an imagining. There's a huge difference.
  Lord, thank You for encouraging an honest dialog. Thank You for the gift of imagination. Help it be positive. Help me protect and nurture it so that every thought is on good and Holy things. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Eph 5:11

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Hats On by Susan L.

  To change things up a bit, as well as I managed to get a whole whack of wool, knitting is taking the form of hats for the Christmas gift drive. Again, it's been an exploration of what works and a helpful hint from my daughter-in-law about using round needles. She taught me how to pull the cord through if there's too much of it for the project. Knitting in the round, as it's called, is much easier than having to sew up a seam although the hats will be started on straight needles because it's easier for me.
  I've learned how to add other colours which is a great way to use up bits and pieces. Figuring out the right sizes is part of the learning curve. The hat fits me but might be too small for a gentleman. The next one will be longer.
  The mechanics of the process absolutely fascinates me; how wrapping and looping and pulling though what amounts to a piece of string ends up a durable and warm fabric. I wonder about the person who first discovered the different ways to connect yarn using a couple of pointy sticks.
  Then there's yarn, well, real wool must have been the start of this. Who discovered the secondary purpose of sheep fleece? They were probably only used with the leather still attached. How did they figure out how to spin the fibres? That has several steps to it before it is knittable. Was it the accidental discovery of a scrap of wool caught on a bramble that made them think, "Huh! I could make something with this!"
  Older sheep breeds shed their wool in the spring like most other animals who need to grow a winter coat. It's only man's intervention that created breeds who had the need for sheep shearers.
  Perhaps it was simply a refinement of the skills used to make fishing nets. Who figured out how to make them?
  I know the invention of synthetic fibres was an accidental side effect of a search for something else. It's the same with synthetic dyes. (Gotta love educational TV!)
  Thank you, Lord, for all the generations who experimented, tried, failed, and tried again so I can make a hat to keep someone warm.
  "Also for Adam and his wife He made tunics of skin, and clothed them." Gen 3:21

Monday, 21 March 2016

Donkey, Little Donkey by Susan L

  It was my delight to have another poem read at church. This time a young girl did the honour and an amazing job of reading. Here's the long version. (Thanks go to those who put the images on the internet.)

Donkey, little donkey, 

Tied by his mother’s side,
A stallion by the right of birth,

Full of male pride.
      He drifts awake and dozes,
       Dreaming donkey dreams,
       Of when his kind ran freely,
       Sipping mountain streams.

This half grown colt, a youngster,
Has yet to reach full size,
His lack of life’s experience,
Is seen within his eyes.
       Many hands take hold of him,
        Driving him apart,
        Far from all known safety,
       Away from his mother’s heart.
He bucks.  He brays.  Resisting,
Against this driving force,
His fear of unfamiliar things,
Taking on its course.
       At last he comes to Jesus,
       Whose hand so gently calms,
       The donkey’s blinding fear
       With a touch of loving palms.
He whispers something in his ear,
Then softly climbs aboard,
The colt, not knowing men before,
Proudly bears the Lord.
       Jerusalem they enter,
Image result for free images jesus followers bringing a donkeyImage result for free images Jesus riding a donkey       With pomp and circumstance,
       Palms are thrown before them,
       The donkey takes a chance.
Stepping out, stepping on,
Strange and scary things,
Great ears flicking all about,
His eyes are white-rimmed rings.
       His baby heart is racing,
       The crowd a roar to fright,
       It’s only in the knowing Christ,
       That made his courage bright.
No whip, no chain, no bridle,
The donkey did restrain,
The Spirit led this little one,
A Holy Guiding Rein.

Image result for free images donkey brayingIn three days, men call again,
The donkey they did need,
To pull the cart where Jesus was,
Released from His final deed.
     This time the fellow goes along,
      Sensing their grieving heart,
      The Holy Spirit spoke with him,
      His was a needed part.
All grown up, he takes the shafts,
Pulling the cart away,
His precious Lord behind him,
No rejoicing this day.
     He’s led into the saddest place,
      Where Christ is laid to rest,
      He knew within his donkey bones,
      He had done his very best.
Returned back to his master,
A trio of days did wane,
The little donkey wept with loss
Unknowing of the gain.
      The earth, that dawn, began to shake,
       He was really terrified,
      An angel came to comfort him,
      Standing by his side.
His heart was filled with quiet joy,
As the earth began to sing,
The heavens rang with angels’ song
“Glory to the King!”
      At last he truly understood,
       The price which Jesus paid,
       His voice joined up with angels,
       To men, he simply brayed.

So, honour Jesus’ donkey,
And the journey which he made,
For upon his back and withers,
The Holy Cross is laid.         

  Thank You, Lord for the inspiration and for Your grace as I took artistic licence with the story found in Mat 21.             

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Views by Susan L.

  There's been some great conversations in my life lately. Everything from the classic "Remember When" to food to politics. There's been true Canadian weather complaining and whining about the inadequacies of our health care system. On the other hand, there's also been a whole lot of gratitude shared that we live where we do and that we have free health care.
  As the talk ebbed and flowed, discussions on poverty took over. The high cost of housing, be it a rental or purchase, means having enough left over to put food on the table is becoming more and more of an issue. Food costs are also at an all time high yet, at the same time, package sizes are growing smaller. A dollar doesn't go anywhere as far as it used to.
  Yet, as I look around my home, the signs of wealth are staggering. I've adequate food, shelter and medicine, a car in the driveway full of gas, a driveway, a pet...I thank You, Lord, from the bottom of my heart for all You have provided.
  It all has to do with perspective. From a decidedly middle class view, I am at the lower end. A wealthy person might see me as being downright poor.
  Hmm, perspectives. All of this is from a secular view defining wealth. In the end, it's spiritual wealth that matters.
  That's easy for me to say, I don't know want. I've never gone hungry. I've never had to wonder where I was going to sleep.
  Lord, bless those who have nothing. Grant them the basic necessities of life. Help those who have, myself included, help others as You see fit. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Set me a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame." Song 8:6

Friday, 18 March 2016

Time's A-flying by Susan L.

 It was good food box day at the centre yesterday. I can't believe we are taking orders for April already! Along with the gravity induced sags in the ole body, time going by so fast is just another reminder of age.
  Now the nice weather is starting to appear I've been giving some thought to the concept of exercise. The bike in my shed that languished there all last year is going to my son because it is a type more suited to city pavement and sidewalks. The best cycling around here is off road so the idea of getting a new bike more appropriate for the terrain has been in the forefront of my mind.
  I always liked cycling and would often spend a couple of hours riding through town. I realize it would take a slow and steady approach to get unused muscles back in shape. There's some great trails across the way that would be a good place to start. Riding on the road means an uphill climb on all sides. They are big hills but with patience, they aren't insurmountable.
  Getting a helmet along with the bike might be wise, too. They are only legally enforced for children but, as much as I love the wind in my hair, protecting the gray matter is prudent.
  Part of success is imagining...the sound of wind rushing past, birdsong, rustling grasses, the click-click of the gears, the hum of tires...the gasp of trying to breathe...Ha-ha! That's a bit too real!
  "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it." 1 Cor 9:24


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Rip 'er Out by Susan L.

  With not too much dithering about yesterday's decision making options, choice one won. In a frenzy of yarn ball making, the fancy knitted pattern that made the sweater too small quickly unravelled. I am not overly disappointed because experimenting and the inevitable do-overs only increases my knowledge. It was also decidedly amusing watching Pumpkin watch the process. He really has a thing for yarn...but then, he is a cat!
  The afternoon was spent downstairs in the workshop. The display table has a start, at least the drawers do. The pieces are all cut except for the bottoms. The sides have a groove routered in them so the base is supported all the way around. A first attempt at finger joints isn't all that pretty but at least the corners meet flush and squarely. That's a huge victory! Anyways, a good sanding followed by a painted finish will hide a multitude of imperfections.
  A lack of wood glue stopped me at that point.
  A I puttered away, it dawned on me that there's such a thing as a healthy fear. Using the various power saws and tools is approached with respect for the damage they could do in a moment of inattention. A single slip could result in a lost finger. Even the pointy ends of the knitting needles are treated with care. An eye is a precious thing. Being safe is a priority no matter what I am doing.  
  Perhaps not having any glue was a good thing because by that time I was tired. Fatigue and dangerous equipment do not go well together.
  The doing of things has never been an issue. Knowing when to stop is another matter altogether.
  "Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Prov 24:3-4

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Start Again? Oh, Well by Susan L.

  In a spate of adventurous knitting, I attempted to add a scalloped pattern to the simple style of the easy sweater. It was chosen to add some variety since there's now one off white and one blue in my wardrobe that are the same. This experiment was done in a charcoal black. Lesson learned. It's too small. By a long shot. The pattern makes the knitting tighter so there needed to be more stitches.
  There needs to be a decision. One, do I rip out the bottom part where the scalloped pattern goes all the way around the sweater or two, simply find someone smaller to give it to? There's a three as well: can it be stretched and pressed it so it relaxes a bit? It might fit then. Or it might not.
  There's nothing against ripping it out but it might be a bit tricky to pick up the pattern that goes in a row all the way down the front. That would have to stay if I want to save any part that does fit, like the sleeves and shoulders.
  Maybe it's time to start doing some woodworking and take a break from knitting.
  Gotta love decision avoidance!
  Besides, there won't be many more days I want to spend in the basement. Spring is springing so it will soon be time to get out into the garden. Woohoo!
  "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Prov 15:3

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Swans by Susan L.

  The trip to Sarnia was filled with bursts of spring music: birdsong and rushing melt water. The sunny day warmed the moist earth and a rich fragrance of earth wafted through the car window. Temporary rivers turned many fields into temporary lakes where water fowl gathered.
  Ducks and Canada geese rested in the smaller ones, already paired off for egg laying season. The occasional large lake was graced with huge flocks of swans. I couldn't resist trying to take a picture with my phone. The white dots are swans! Perhaps, if the drive home had been as sunny as the drive there, it might have been clearer.
  I had seen a few small flocks on the drive down and was amazed. Most of the time I think of swans as being ornamental birds kept by the wealthy to grace carefully manicured ponds. Somehow I think it takes a special licence to keep the Queen's birds but that could be wrong. Or maybe that only applies to one type of swan. Or maybe that's a British law.
  My daughter-in-law told me that these are tundra swans heading for their arctic breeding grounds. They sweep through the area in their hundreds of thousands every spring. It's quite the sight even if it was only in the distance.
  My first robin of the year raced across the road in front of the car.
  The snow only remained in shaded patches. Whispery mists drifted through bare leafed forests, spilling across the road in spots.
  It's a long, three and a half hour drive, but with such sights and worship music playing, it flies by.
  "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ." Col 3:23-24

Friday, 11 March 2016

Sneak Peek by Susan L.

  I doubt my granddaughter reads my blog so here's the finished story box. It contains a journal, white and coloured paper, markers, pencils, pencil crayons, glue and scissors. There's a little notebook of big ideas where I've pasted a variety of pictures cut from magazines or wrote some simple prompts to get the imagination flowing.
   The phrase on the lid the is same as her brother's box to keep all things equal.
Besides, what fires the imagination better than "Once Upon a Time"? It's the magical phrase of princes and princesses, dragons and strange lands. It's the place where rabbits talk and monsters are nice.
  There was one book I remember reading as a child. It was about a squirrel who lived in an ancient oak. Inside the tree was done up like a human house with leaded glass windows, winding staircases and tiny furniture. The squirrel wore an old fashioned dress, mop cap, and apron. The story line eludes my memory but bits and pieces of the images have stayed with me after all these years. It made me want to live in a squirrel home for the longest time. Too bad adult sensibilities have to move in!
  Who knows? Maybe one day my granddaughter or my grandson will pen a book that will touch a child all the days of their lives. Lord, bless their imaginations. Bless them with a gift of words and stories. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!
  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Gen 1:1

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Keys by Susan L.

  I've been thinking about what to hang on the wall above the piano. It's got a bit of a kink in it that I'd like to disguise as best as possible. Fixing it would mean tearing the wall out completely and rebuilding it from the framework out. That's just too much mess!
  The thought of doing a garden painting for that spot fizzled rather quickly.
  My liking for keys has been posted about before. It's a little idiosyncrasy of mine that began when I was little. Last night it came to me to build a large, antique type key from wood to hang in the waiting-for-something-just-right space. It'd be painted black with a favorite saying or scripture written on it. There's keys in music, too. Sharps and flats. Making some of those to hang as well as music notes would look alright.
  Or maybe the big key could be painted or built like a music staff with the notes mounted on it. Oooo, that'd be alright, too. I could use thin doweling for the lines because it wouldn't warp. (Thinking...thinking...) A joined bass and treble clef, made from two keys, one, right side up and one, upside down. Song lyrics, scripture, or a saying in the middle would fit perfectly.
  Cutting the words out of wood might be a bit finicky but it would look pretty cool. MDF, or particle board, is merciful because it has no grain.
  Or maybe that is a bit over the top. It would end up huge. Back to thinking...
  It would look great done in metal but that comes with a whole whack of skills I have yet to learn.
  Why keys? They open the way to so many different things: homes and garden sheds, hearts and ideas, faith and wisdom, stories and songs.
  When someone gives you a key to their house it becomes a symbol of trust and honour.
  Best of all, they unlock the kingdom of God. I think keys and seeds represent the same thing: the birthplace of new ideas, new understandings.
  "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mat 16:19

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Distracted by Susan L.

  Writing feels like the last thing I should be doing. It's crunch time as the finishing touches to my granddaughter's box are completed. It means a trip to the hardware store because my ancient pot of varnish finally solidified and the screws for the handles are too long.
  I got handles at the ReStore yesterday. New and in the package. There's enough in the box for the display table drawers as well. They also had drawer runners, new, that will make them easier to mount.  Since it's hit and miss as to what is in stock, it seemed prudent to pick them up at a fraction of what a hardware store would have charged.
  Slowly the bits and pieces are being gathered. I've left the pine in the package and will do so for a couple of weeks. It was a hard lesson that pine panelling shrinks and unless it is given time to cure before being used, it will warp and twist. That was another "start again" experience.
  The actual build has been slowly ticking over in the back of my mind. Thoughts on the steps needed, the how to's, what it will look like, have all passed through the old gray matter. Hmm, writing down some plans might be wise. There's still a bit more research needed, some tricks of the trade to uncover then hopefully, it will all come together. I've plenty of wood for start overs just in case.
  On a corny, philosophical note, the build represents a life with Christ. First of all, His are the best laid plans. He cuts away what is not needed. He builds us up. He smooths the rough edges. He polishes until we shine.
  Yah. Like I said, corny.
  "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." Eph 4:7

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Bubbles Up by Susan L.

  There are some lingering effects of doing creative writing. I find myself thinking in rhythmic words as snatches of poetic phrasing continue to bubble up. There's nothing tangible or cohesive, it's simply there, like a song that gets stuck in the brain. There's a hunger building in me to write, an almost physical craving similar to the one that rises up at the thought of chocolate.
  I did make a couple of attempts to start the comfort books but there was something lacking. It was God, my Muse, the Author of all authors. His presence was missing as pride and self-reliance stepped up to take the project over. Well, He wasn't really missing, I wasn't listening. Forgive me, Lord.
  "Start Again."
  How I love those words!
  They don't signify failure. They represent grace and patience. They represent God's willingness to be with me until I get it right. Not necessarily the words, but the process, the humble approach, the prayerfully seeking His input are what matters.
  "Start Again" gets me laughing. Oops! Did it again. Tried to take control. I know that doesn't work but time after time it happens.
  The control thing is rather unpleasant anyways. It adds burdens of responsibility or should I say a toxic sense of duty. That comes with a whole whack of guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Doubt, fear, criticism and judgement tag along behind. Yuck. It's definitely a poisonous and paralysing  environment for creativity!
  So, here I am, Lord, forever grateful for Your gentle ways.
  "But rise and stand on your feet; for I (Jesus) have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you." Acts 26:16


Monday, 7 March 2016

Inspired by Susan L.

  At worship team practice Friday, there was some joking around in putting song names together to make a sentence. The idea captured my heart and a poem was born.

Come, now is the time to worship!
To stand, to offer
Phrases of praise to raise the roof!
To celebrate in word and song:
Our Wonderful God, Our Wonderful Saviour!
Or simply the amazing
Wonder of it all!

It’s the reason we sing,
The sacrifice of desert songs,
The joys of souls on fire:
Heartbeat beats of anthems sweet,
Incense to heaven,

Bass and treble tremble,
Booming drum, tambour, flute and cymbal crash,
Electrifying, finger flying, eighty-eight keys,
The black, the white, the world encompassed.
Twelve strings stretched, vocal cords enmeshed,
Tethered together in faith.

Rise up a mighty, thundering, wall crushing sound,
To send the foe scurrying, worrying,
To hide from the unquenchable power of

Jesus Loves Me, His Grace like rain,
Pours down and out and up and in.
He who saves, Who will never leave us,
Who will return to us some day,
Loved loud
For all to hear.
  "For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether." Ps 139:4