Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years Eve by Susan L.

  A year end task is done. All the birthday info, anniversary dates, upcoming events like my daughter's wedding in August have been transferred to the new 2017 calendar. I also make note of unusual weather events like snow in late April and the year it happened. I have a thing about weather. Oh. A note wasn't made about Easter weekend's ice storm this past spring...done.
  This year's calendar, courtesy of the heating oil company, has some lovely pictures of Ontario. I recognize several of them like the one taken in Algonquin Park. I fell in love with the beauty of the Algonquin area when we went camping there a couple summers ago.
  It doesn't look like H and I will be going camping this year. Both of us have weddings out of province in late summer. Although I am thinking of going somewhere for a short trip. Even solo. It would be easy enough to simply put my air mattress in the car because the seats fold flat making a tent unnecessary. The dining tent can be put up and taken down by one person. It's ideal if it rains and keeps the mosquitoes at bay.
  I'd take my paints and do like I did with the solo Nova Scotia trip: stop when something inspired me. It's exciting just thinking about it. Even if I don't go away, it's something that could be done on a day drive about the countryside. It's just a matter of hopping in the car.
  It's something to think about anyways. Lord, I lift it to You.
  I don't know what the year will bring. Already there are a couple of significant and wonderful blessings like a new grandchild (unless he/she arrives before midnight but it doesn't look like it) and a new son-in-law. I hope and pray there are many more blessings. Not only for me but for my family, friends, and my readers as well.
  Here's wishing you all the best and a thousand fold blessings for 2017.
  "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You." Ps 139:17-18

Friday, 30 December 2016

Joys of Technology by Susan L.

  There's a vicious snow belt between here and my son's home in Sarnia. Yesterday's snow squalls hammered the highways down his way even though my drive to my mom's was blessed with clear but mucky and wet roads. I must remember to check the windshield washer in the car!
  Jacob's ladders, golden sunbeams, broke through the clouds. A whispered "wow" was an expression of utter joy at their brilliance. Dark, roiling snow clouds to the west paralleled my drive south.
  My son, with infinite wisdom, opted not to make the three and a half hour drive. A friend on the road he was about to embark on let him know the conditions were atrocious in the snow belt. Driving conditions were supposed to be bad in the same area today as well making the trip home just as dangerous.
  Family is far too important to make a drive that could end disastrously.
  After supper, we hooked up via the internet so they could partake in the adult's gift exchange game and spend some time chatting with everyone. There were a lot of laughs. It was wonderful to see them. Even more so because they were safe at home.
  We also hooked up with my daughter (it was lovely to see her!) in Nova Scotia for a bit as well although a glitch cut that short. Technology can be wonderful when it works, not so much when it has a hissy fit.
  Christmas dinner with the family was a much quieter affair than originally planned. Hopefully, at some point in the next week, we will be able to all get together. If we land at my Mom's, ordering pizza will be dinner. That is if Bump holds off his/her arrival time!
  We'll just have to see what the weather brings.
  Lord, watch over and protect my loved ones in their travels near and far. Lord, watch over everyone's loved ones in this season of travelling, visiting and breaking bread together. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" Ps 107:1

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Winter Wonderland by Susan L.

  Those postcard picture perfect mornings where the world is wrapped in freshly fallen snow make my heart skip with joy even if it means the driveway may need shovelling. Not a foot print mars the yard. The air is still. The sky a soft gray. Shadows are diffused and soft as well. Humps and bumps become works of art. Fluffy mushroom caps make the mundane into characters who, with a fanciful flight of imagination, could talk.
  The birds visiting my neighbour's feeder land in the branches with a puff. There's a Nuthatch who has found a branch in the lilac tree perfect for wedging seeds. She jams them in then patiently pecks away until the treat inside is made available. I see her there all the time in the same spot so it must be a good one!
  These sights are even more precious because they won't last. Before long, the wind will rise, the trees will shake off their blanket so they can doh-si-doh-bow-to-your-partner boogie. The squirrels who raid the bird feeders will bounce across the lawn. There's a rabbit somewhere who uses my shovelled driveway as a highway leaving bunny prints as the only evidence of his existence.
  The snow plow just went past dumping rumply-bumpy chunks of snow along the ditch and the end of the driveway. So much for pristine.
  It will be a beautiful drive to my Mom's today. We are celebrating my family Christmas. It will seem strange without my daughter there but she said she would try and call while we are all together. I am looking forward to seeing everyone.
  All of us are excitedly looking forward to Bump's entry into the world. It could be any day now even if the baby's due date is January 6. I know mom is ready. Those last few weeks of pregnancy seem terribly long!
  Gratitude and hope: the lifeblood of life. Lord, give me eyes to see and the ears to hear the joy You have for all Your creations. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Pressure by Susan L.

  I watch the ads on TV that portray women who race home from work, take care of the kids by helping them with homework or baking Pillsbury cookies while she makes a full, nutritious dinner before tossing them into the Ford van to take them and all the other kids in the neighbourhood to hockey practice. These women keep a spotless home thanks to Dyson and Swiffer, make homemade Christmas cards and decorate the house according to the latest home d├ęcor guru. They go to the gym or yoga, fold laundry washed in Tide and scented with long lasting Downy fabric softener, yet still find time (and money I might add) to shop with their friends. Whew!! I am exhausted just watching the thirty second glimpse into life impossible! Oh, they also take the time while grocery shopping to look at Blue Buffalo pet food labels to make sure Mr. Wiggles gets only the best.
  It's everywhere we look.
  Like the cough syrup ad that emphasises moms don't take sick days.
  I am in the process of watching an old, black and white movie from the late thirties, "Made For Each Other". I love James Stewart with his goofy, bumbling sincerity. The stay-at-home mom has hired help to maintain a small apartment and help with the baby while the dad goes off to work. (The maid who wouldn't wash diapers was fired.) I smile at her perfect makeup, even in the middle of the night!
  When did we evolve to become wonder women? Yet, there's pressure on men, too. James, in the movie, struggles with his inability to provide the best for his family and weeps at the growing debt. A sign of his inadequacies. This was in the era before credit cards were successfully marketed and debt became a part of life. That's a whole other post!
  There's pressure to perform on all of us. Assembly line education, assembly line jobs, assembly line retirement build the box of supposed to be's. Perhaps it isn't performing but believing we need to conform that shreds our confidence and our identity in Christ.
  So we get sick. Anxiety, addictions, mental health struggles, heart disease, high blood pressure are what challenge us as we try and fit a square peg in a round hole.
  Lord, help me be a round peg. Help me find the place and space where I fit. Help me embrace the identity and plans You have for my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
  "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Pet 3:8-9

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Coming Home by Susan L.

  This test of not blogging any more has ended up being an unhealthy exercise. I find myself drifting through the day feeling at a loss without having grounded each morning in time spent with the Lord.  
  This is not a good thing.
  My anxiety has increased and I'm left rather out of sorts, frazzled and adrift. Toss in cranky as well. It's difficult to organize and prioritize the day without spending this crucial hour in prayer. There's room for unwanted thoughts to make themselves known. There's room for unwanted behaviours, like obsessive Solitaire playing while I wait to go to work, (forgive me Lord) that have taken the place of connecting with my Maker.
  I lack the discipline to pull out my Bible each morning like the plan had been. There always seems to be a distraction or something else that needs to be done. The "honey do's" have a way of invading and taking over. Funny, that.
  Doing the blog works. Reading God's Word doesn't. Forgive me, my Lord, for being so easily led away from You. Doing the blog by having the discipline to sit down each morning and write is easy for me because it doesn't feel like an onerous task. It isn't a chore. It's a blessing in my life and a celebration of God's gifts. More importantly, it's a celebration of His presence in my life.
  It's also something I look forward to. Seeing what scripture the Lord will lead me to each morning is a high point in my day. So it should be. Excited anticipation is a far better way to begin a day instead of chasing squirrels.
  So I am back, feeling content and happy that this is where I need to be, that this is what I need to do.
  Peace is a wonderful thing. I look forward to the next leg of this journey. Lord, I surrender it to You, to Your plans, to Your dreams for my life because they far exceed anything I could possibly imagine.
  "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mk 11:29