Saturday, May 16, 2015

Learning from my children

When my children were very little, they learned from watching me.  They imitated their parents actions and expressions just as every child throughout the ages has. As they grew they began to notice others with admirable qualities. These also became their heroes, their ideals whom they chose to emulate, and they continued to grow and blossom.  Children look up to adults. We become heroes, at least for a little while. 

But now my children are grown and I am finding that in some ways the roles are becoming reversed.

My children all love music.  They learned that from me.  We sang together from the time they were babies.  And as soon as they could hold there own, I harmonized with them and they learned to love harmony, (they also learned that if they were doing dishes and they started singing, Mom would come and pick up a towel, just to be able to sing with them)

When they got a little older, I was working for the Ontario Conservatory of Music, so I was able to put them in lessons for a short while.   Susy took accordion lessons from an awesome classical accordion instructor.

The problem was, he was too awesome for her.  She was totally intimidated.  She would go home from the lesson and practice all week and then bomb out when she tried to perform in front of him. It didn't seem like she would ever be able to play anything in front of an audience.   The lessons ended and that was that.

But then ...  one day on her own she sat down at the organ and she began to go through the hymnbook.   She played and she played and she played, sometimes as much as five hours a day, and within a short time she was playing for us as we sang trios, and able to overcome any inhibitions she might have had.

Now she is a church organist and plays in front of at least 300 people at a time.

When I worked at the Conservatory, I took some lessons too.  But it seemed that when I tried to play when anyone was listening, my fingers would turn to wood.  I got to grade 4 level and then I gave up.

A few years later, I got an organ again, feeling that I should pick up where I left off, but when my youngest daughter, who played the violin, took off with it and put my humble attempts to shame, I got discouraged again.

But the music was still inside me.  My musician family all grew up and left home, and I had no one to harmonize with.  I got an organ again.

When Susy comes over, I watch her as she plays, and I hear those fabulous harmonies.  I love what she can do.  I love what all my children can do with their music, and when I sit down at my organ, I hear those sounds in my head and that's what I want to play.

I play my organ a lot now.  My children have taught me much more than just how to pick out harmonies . They have had to deal with the same inhibitions that I face, and they have been able to overcome them.

If they can do it, as their mom, with the help of God, I can too.

Since writing this post I have acquired a piano and am playing that as well. I am still a long way from where I want to be but much better than I was.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Honey, come sit with me

"Why don't you leave what you are doing and sit down with me for a while."  I can still hear him coaxing, being totally impractical, and trying to talk me out of all the busyness of my day.

There were so many important things to be done.  The kitchen needed to be cleaned up, or some canning had to be taken care of, and he wanted me to leave that and just sit with him and watch one of the videos I had seen two or three times already.

They weren't bad videos, mainly Gaithers, or biographies or good stories with a moral, but it seemed like such a waste of time when there were things to be done.

"You can chose what to watch," he would say, and I would halfheartedly pick something and sit down with him, part of my mind still on the chores that awaited me. 

Today it was me who asked, who begged that he would come and sit with me.  Yes there are still things that need to be done; there always will be, but oh how wonderful it would be if I could just sit next to him and enjoy his company once again.  The dishes could wait; the floors could stay dirty, if only I had one more chance to sit with him.

If any of my readers still has a spouse who wants you to slow down and spend some time with him/her, feel blessed. Treasure those times while you have them.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Under His Wing

I've read the chapter hundreds of times. I've learned it by heart.  But today when I read it  the picture was so clear, so totally comforting.

Yesterday, when I went out to close up the chicken coup, Solo was crying.  It still sounds like a baby chick even though it has grown big enough to be almost independent now.  It can find the tasty tidbits of  treats I bring out, and it is tall enough to reach the water pail.

But it has a problem.  The big gals tend to pick on it.  It is learning that it could very easily lose its life if it is not careful.  Independence is not always such a nice thing. 

Last night Mama was up on the roost.  Solo had one goal.   It needed to get to that one place where it knew it would be safe.  It needed to get to Mama. It needed to hide under that wing. It needed to be covered with those feathers. 

You can tell just by listening, when Solo has made it past the wicked beaks of its foes.  The sound of the cheeping changes from panic to contentment.  No bullying hen will dare touch it there.  It settles in and goes to sleep warm and safe from harm.

This was the picture I saw as I read Psalm 91: 4  He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Our love story

This is the sequel to the blog I wrote a couple of days ago.  It is taken directly out of the autobiography Bruce was working on when he died.

One Tuesday evening I got dressed in my finest: a black suit, black shirt, white tie, and a white silk puff in my lapel pocket, and I headed for church. (We were taught that when you went to church to worship the Lord, you dressed your best)

When I got to church, I found my usual seat at the back, and sat down. Just before the service began, a young man came in accompanied by a young lady. At the time I didn't pay much attention to them other than to notice that they were not regulars.

Some time during the song service, someone suggested that perhaps one of the visitors might have a word or a special for us. After a slight hesitation, the young lady got up and came to the front. She consulted with the pianist and then started singing, “Jesus, He's the Way Maker”.

I knew that Jesus was the way maker by the way He had led me from the start of my Christian walk and that He would work out the problems that lay before me. I looked at this young singer. She wore a blue and white checkered cotton dress. She had long silky blond hair, and ravishing blue eyes, and when our eyes met, the Lord spoke to me. “This is the one that will become your wife.”
I was riveted by what had transpired in those few short seconds. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

But she had come in with someone else, and she went back home with him. I waited. How would God bring his word to pass? I didn't have her phone number. I don't think I even knew her name. All I could do was leave it in the hands of my Lord.

The next time Carrie (Bruce's name for me ) came to church, she was with her parents. I learned that she was not dating the young man whom she had come with that first time. Her parents started attending regularly and bringing her with them. I was delighted.

We quickly became acquainted, doing activities together with other young people in the church. But them one night after church I asked her parents if I could take her with me and another couple out to Niagara Falls. I promised that I would get her home safely and not keep her out too late.

They hesitated, but finally agreed to let her go, and that was the start of our courtship.

We had gone to Mama Mia's restaurant in Niagara Falls, and although Carrie seemed to be enjoying herself, she didn't eat much. On the way home I reached for her hand. She didn't pull away. I was driving, and the other couple were in the back seat. I planned on dropping them off before taking Carrie home.

I must have been deep in thought, or perhaps just unable to think at all, because I suddenly heard some snickering behind me. I realized that I was stopped and was waiting for a green light, but the intersection didn't have a traffic light, only a stop sign. I don't know how long I had been waiting there, but when I realized where I was, I quickly moved forward and dropped off my amused passengers at their destination.

I was alone with the girl who, I knew, would some day become my wife. They say that love is blind, and I guess it must be true, because, that same evening, as I was taking her up Thirty Road to the farm where she lived with her parents, I missed seeing another stop sign. This time, instead of giggles behind me, I heard the sound of a siren and saw flashing lights.

I wondered what I had done. The police officer was quick to inform me of my failure to stop at a stop sign, but not so quick to fill out all the paper work necessary for the ticket he issued me. It must have taken an hour before we were allowed to be on our way again. Our first date, and I was very late in getting my girl home to her parents.

That late night could have ended our relationship. Her parents were very strict about punctuality. I had never been much good at being anywhere on time, and this was not the best way to endear myself to them. But the Lord had a plan for my life that included Carrie Peters, and, in spite of my failings, He continued to work out all the details.

I pursued Carrie with all my might. I was determined to hear a declaration of her love, but she was a little slower to respond with the words I was waiting for. It took almost two whole months before she finally admitted that she loved me.

There was no proposal. You see, we both assumed that my coaxing her to say those words and her declaration of love was the same as a proposal on my part and a “yes, I will marry you” on hers. Our only question was when would we ask her parents, and how soon would we tie the knot.

Two months later on a cold February day we were declared husband and wife. Carries parents had had their concerns, but they were willing to embrace me as their son. I was determined to be a responsible husband and, I hoped, someday, to be a good parent.

For the previous post see: Where Could I Go but to the Lord

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Where could I go but to the Lord

One year ago today we were gathered around the hospital bed that had been placed in our dining room.  As my dear husband lay there absorbing the love of his family, we started singing some of the songs he loved.  "It is Well With My Soul"  "But Until Then"  and the one that he requested with his last audible words, "Where Could I Go but to the Lord"

He died that evening after a restful sleep.  His hand was still holding onto my arm where, in his last display of physical effort, he had placed it earlier that day. 

The words of the song he requested were a reference to a time earlier in his life when he had given that as an answer to the Lord.  I would like to let you read an excerpt from his life story that we worked on together just before he died.

"I was changing a window display one Monday afternoon. It was hot in there with all the lights generating heat. My head was pounding, and I had the flu. Lyle was looking after the floor, serving customers and getting me things I needed for the display. A young lady came in the store. She talked to Lyle for a few minutes and then left. I had come to edge of the window for two things: To get some relief from the heat, and also to look at the girl. In my eyes she was a knockout. After she left, I asked “Lyle, who was that?”

He answered casually, “Oh, she's my sister.”

I found out her name was Linda, and she had been out west with Lyle, but when Lyle came back to Ontario, she had stayed for a while with her other brother. Now she was back at home with her parents.

The next time I was asked to go to church I readily accepted. I did my best to get Linda to go out with me, and before long, we started dating, going for pizza after church, or driving the few short miles to Niagara Falls.

I went to church whenever she went to church. On one particular week night, the service was ending, the preaching was finished, and everybody was standing and singing, clapping, praising, and in general having a good Pentecostal time. All I was thinking about was where we would go after service, but then something happened.

A Voice spoke to me. It was not an audible voice and yet I heard it clearly. That Voice that I'd been yearning to hear from my boyhood onward, that Voice that I was searching for as a little child up in a pear tree, that voice said to me:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. You step out in that isle, and I'll meet you.” God had broken the silence; He was talking to me.

I grabbed hold of the handmade pew in front of me. I was shaking. The pew was bouncing on the floor. I was shocked with fright. After a few minutes I began to think, “What will happen if I step out.”

I took that step, and the next thing I knew, I was at the alter on my knees. People were all crowded around me, some saying do this, and others saying do that.

Some time before all of this, I had talked to the Pastor and asked him, “How does somebody like me join your church.”

He said, “You can't join. We don't have memberships.” He also told me I needed to ask Jesus Christ to forgive me of all my sins, and then I needed to thank Him for taking away my sins and for His Sacrifice on Calvary for me. He said I needed to turn away from sin and follow Christ.

I hadn't done anything about it at the time, but now, down at that alter, I did exactly what the pastor had instructed me to do. I asked for forgiveness, and then I started thanking Him.

A heavy load dropped off me that day and landed right at the foot of the Cross of Calvary. When I got up I knew something wonderful had happened to me. I was beginning a journey with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He promised never to leave me, and He hasn't. Not for a step, not for a second.

Winston Churchill once commented after losing an election. “I lost my appendix, my seat, and my party.” He had to start afresh. I was starting afresh, also. Within a short time I lost my job, and my girlfriend, and I was facing an unknown future. I didn't know anything about this walk of faith in Jesus Christ, but I had his promise that He would meet me. I was about to find out that He was true to His word.

The very first thing I did after I started my walk with God was to become familiar with him. I wandered downtown that first morning and discovered a Christian Book Store. I entered to have a look around. I must have seemed lost because a lady in the store came up to me and asked “Can I help you, young man?”

I don't know, I guess I need a Bible.” I replied.

Why do you think you need a Bible?”

I was eager to tell of my new-found faith. “Last night in a little church on Carlton St. I got Saved. Now I think I need to get a Bible and read it.”

She showed me where the Bibles were and told me to look them over and choose one that I liked. “If you have any questions,” she said, “I'll try to answer them for you.”

I found one that I liked, a Holman King James Bible. I took it and its box to the counter. I told the lady this was the one I liked but that I'd have to come back when I had the eight dollars. I explained that I had just lost my job.

She told me her name was Ruth Miller and that she was the owner of the store. “Bruce,” she said after I had introduced myself, “you take that Bible with you now. You can come in and pay me when you have the money.” She wrote my name in a book she kept under the counter. I thanked her and said I would be in to pay her soon.

Ruth and I had that arrangement for all the years that I lived in St. Catharines. Whenever I was browsing and found a book that interested me I'd let Ruth know, and she'd let me take it and pay for it at payday.

I took that Bible home and started reading at Genesis Chapter 1. The more I read of the Bible, the more I wanted to read. While I was out of work I spent most of my time reading, I just couldn't seem to get enough.

There were many things that I didn't understand, and I would save those questions for my talks with my Pastor. Most of his answers cleared up my ignorance of the Scriptures, but sometimes I had to dig for answers for myself. Other questions had to wait to be answered in God's time, and some are still waiting to be answered.

It was amazing how quickly, after being saved, I was forced into growing. About three months into my new life in Christ, the Sunday School Superintendent ask me to teach a boys class of 8 or 9 to 12 year olds. I didn't think I could do it, but she assured me they would supply me with quarterly Sunday School aids to help me.

I started the class trying follow the Sunday School quarterly, but I found I just wasn't using it. After about six weeks I went to the superintendent and asked her not to buy the next quarterly. I wanted to teach my students from what I was discovering in the Bible for myself. She said “Okay.”

That was the beginning of a new adventure in teaching for me. When we started that next quarter I was writing all my own lessons. The boys loved it and so did I. Years later one of the boys in that class visited me in Cambridge, Ontario, at my office. During our reminiscing he brought up those lessons and told me he still remembered them after all those years.


Now, as I lay there in my reclining chair, so close to death's door, thinking of how it had all turned out, I continued to talk to the Lord. “Lord, you know that I have tried to follow you since the day I walked down that isle. I never shook my fist at you, never turned away from you, even though some people thought I would.”

Because there had been no tears accompanying my salvation some of the people in the church had watched me carefully wondering if my experience had been real, or if, in fact, it was only a ploy to hold onto Linda. They knew how badly I wanted to win her hand.

From that day in the shoe store when Linda walked into my life I had done everything in my power to woo her. My first entrance into the little church on Carlton street happened because I had wanted to be where she was. I had used all my newly acquired management skills to try to convince her that I was the one for her. I had convinced myself that I was succeeding. I thought she would someday become my wife. I was confident that she was part of God's plan for me.

For close to a year I held on to that hope. Linda and I continued to date.

But I had not been raised in a Christian home; I had not had the example of a Godly father to model my behaviour after; and I was not even established in a respectable career. I guess, to all outward appearances, I wasn't much of a catch. What I didn't know was that God had a better plan.

Linda ended our relationship, and her parents took her with them on a three month trip to the States.

I was devastated. I had been so sure she was the one for me. How could God have allowed this to happen? Didn't He know how much I loved her? Hadn't He put her in my path? How could I possibly go on without her?

I kept on attending church while Linda and her parents were away but the emotional pain was almost unbearable. I couldn't eat or sleep. It was hard to keep going, but I was still determined to wait it out and fix it up however I could. It wasn't until Linda fell in love with someone else that I knew for sure that I had to give up my hope of ever having her back.

During a service one morning, I got up and slipped downstairs where I could be alone with God. I had to do some serious soul searching. My heart was so heavy I just couldn't bear it. What was I going to do?

All my hopes, my dreams had crumbled. What was left? The Lord spoke to me. He asked me a question. “ What will you do? Are you going to continue on, or will you desert me now?”

I didn't realize, when I answered, that I was almost quoting, word for word, the words of the disciples as they answered the same question. “Where would I go, Lord? You are the only one that has eternal life.” I knew that there was nothing back where I came from. Nothing in my past would help me over this. Only God could sustain me. Only God could bring me through this trial, and I depended on him more than ever.

I still struggled, but then one day the Lord sent a lady from Ottawa, Sister LeBranch, to visit our church, and while she was there, she told me she had had a vision of me. She saw me walking down a road filled with potholes and lots of hills and valleys. When I would stumble or the hills were too high or the valleys too long and deep, she said, “remember this. The Lord says 'I've got hold of your right hand and I won't let you fall, and I'll be with you to take you over every high hill and through every valley.'”

Lord, You have been faithful to keep Your word. I can sing that song, 'I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand.'"

The next part of his story is about the "something Better" God had for Bruce and that, of course, was me, so maybe I'll let you have a peek of that in my next post.

For the next post see: Our love story
For the previous post see:  The Path

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Path

Several inches of snow had blanketed the field during the night with a new fluffy layer.  It looked absolutely beautiful, but it had completely camouflaged my pathway to the chicken coop.

For those of you not familiar with farming in the Canadian snow belt, let me explain.  Although most of us are modern enough to have the snow blown from our driveways, and to shovel our walkways to the front door, we tend to use a different method when creating paths to our out buildings.

When the first heavy snow blocks my way to the chicken coop, I simply put on snowshoes to reach my chickens, but snowshoes are awkward to work in, so after one or two times over the same route, the snow is packed  down sufficiently enough to walk the same route in high boots.  Each time it snows, as long as I follow the same trail, I can continue to pack the snow down.  

There's just one catch.  Only the narrow path is packed down.  If I step the slightest bit off the beaten path I can go down, up to my hips in snow.  When it snows during the night, and the path fills in, I have to find my way one cautious step at a time.

This was the situation I found myself in.  The step carved into the entrance to the path was barely visible but it was there, a huge blessing to know where to start.  From there I continued cautiously, keeping my eye on my destination, and feeling each step with my boot.

Things were going good until I got overconfident.  It only takes one wrong step to go down.  I took that wrong step.  I was down. 

It's cold down in the snow.  It gets into your boots and up your sleeves, and it doesn't want to let you go.   Getting out of deep snow is hard work.  It would be so much easier to just lay there, but of course, that is not an option.  I struggled and finally made it back on my feet, and back on the path.

But the experience got me thinking.  This path I walk on is a narrow one. At times it becomes hidden and it's  hard to find my footing.  I have to search for the firm foundation below all the fluff.  But sometimes I get overconfident and that's when I slip up.  When I step off the path (and I often do) I fall, and when I fall it's hard to get up.  But if I didn't pick myself back up I know it would be fatal.

So, with the help of my Heavenly Father, I get back on my feet, and for the next few steps, at least, I hope I walk more carefully.

For the next post see:  Where Could I Go but to the Lord

For the previous post see: Forty Eight Years Ago

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Forty-eight years ago

Oh, how wise God is and how foolish we are!

Forty-eight years ago today I was excited but scared.  Was I doing the right thing or had I made a terrible decision that would mess up my whole life?

I had always believed that my Heavenly Father would give me the perfect husband.  Yes, I always tried to clarify, "perfect for me", but, in my imagination, that had a very specific meaning.

Naturally I expected him to be dedicated to God.  There never was any other option with that, but there were other values that I believed would be part of the perfect man for me.

I knew I needed a husband that would be strong. I was convinced that as long as I had a strong husband I could be a good wife.

Of course he would be intelligent with a good sense of humor.  I was used to being around intelligent men; I had three older brothers.  Our daily table talk was always intelligent and usually hilarious as well.

But there were many other characteristics that  I was convinced would be part of my perfect husband's character.

First of all, he would never get angry.  I was blessed with a gentle father, and I took for granted that the man for me would never raise his voice.  The strange thing was, I didn't want someone like my softhearted Dad.  I didn't want a man who cried.  I hated the fact that I was a cry baby, and I didn't want us both getting blubbery. 

I wanted someone who was firm, but, naturally, I expected that he would always see things my way, because without that trait, I didn't think he would be perfect for me.

He would love everything about me, but wouldn't act like a puppy dog about it.  He would be the one that I would look up to and adore.

He would be punctual, but he would never be impatient. 

Oh, and one more thing.  He would sing like an angel, and we would spend our lives traveling and singing together.

And then I met Bruce, and I knew that he was the man for me.  He knew it too.

Within a couple of months we were engaged.  There had been no time to compare him to my list.  The next two months were busy with preparations, but during that time, my "perfect man for me" list would flip up occasionally and I would try to tuck it back down.

But by February 3rd, I knew I would have to face it.  Tomorrow I would be getting married and I was scared.

It wasn't that he wasn't a good Christian; I knew that he was.  And I was quite aware of his high degree of intelligence; there was no question about that.  I had even seen that he had a sense of humor, but that left me with a certain foreboding; it was much different than mine, and I wasn't sure I could handle it.

He was strong; that was obvious, but his strength left me feeling very annoyed, especially when he didn't agree with everything I said or believed.

I had also heard him raise his voice.  True, it wasn't at me, but the very idea that it could be me the next time, left me frightened.

I wondered if, on that day two months earlier, I shouldn't have refused the diamond when he had arrived at my home an hour late to offer it to me.

But I knew it was too late to back out.  Besides, in spite of my fears, I loved him.

As our honeymoon ended and real living began, there were more days when I struggled with those unwanted thoughts.  His single-parent home had been so different from mine, his walk with God so new, his background so very much in contrast to mine. 

The perfect helpmeet I had been so sure I would be, turned into a nagging, arguing, crying wife.

It is a slow process this business of iron sharpening iron.  Only God knew how long it would take to smooth our jagged edges. All I can tell you is that it didn't happen over night.  But it did happen.

It happened when we started really putting God first. It was only then that I totally realized why Bruce was the perfect man for me.  In my dreams of the perfect marriage, I had been looking through the self-centered lenses of how my husband would fulfill my wants.

God was looking at how he would fulfill my needs, my need to mature, my need to see my own weaknesses so I could cry out to God to change me, my need to know that I really was very self-centered and to let God become the center of my life.  My need to go through some major refining.

And while our Father was using Bruce to gently work on me, He was also using my weaknesses to make a giant of a man out of my husband.

Those doubts that had plagued me 48 years ago are long gone.   God did give me the perfect husband.  The best in the whole world. 

No, he never did learn to be on time, and he never did learn to sing on key, though he did love to listen.  But when he answered God's call on his life, we did travel to various churches around the continent.  And where ever we went he would preach, and I would sing with our daughters. 

And what could be better than that!

This will be my first anniversary without Bruce and I may need your prayers.  Thanks.

For the next post see: The Path
For the previous post see: Never Alone

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Never Alone

It was only a dream, but it didn't stop when I awoke.

We were at a convention of some sort.  Bruce and I met up only for a moment and then Bruce went with the men to their sleeping quarters, and I was taken with the ladies to our dorm.  The women talked of things like the best kind of natural shampoo, etc, and I took part, but I was discontent, feeling that it was a very empty conversation.

All I wanted was to spend fifteen or twenty minutes resting my head on my husband's shoulder, discussing the day with him, planning what we would do the next day and just feeling each other's presence.  But he was off somewhere with the men, and I had no access to that shoulder or the conversation that I so desperately wanted.

I wondered if we could scrape together enough cash to get a motel room close by; anything that would let me have that time with him.  But then I awoke and realized that no money in the world would give me that time with my husband.

I pushed myself out from beneath my warm quilts to greet the shock of the cold room.  I stirred the dying embers in the wood stove and added some kindling.  It would eventually ignite  from the sparks still visible in the firebox .  While I was waiting, I sat down at my organ.  The hymn book was open to the song I had been playing the night before.

"No, Never Alone"

It hit me then.  Those words just seemed to leap off the page and sink into my soul.

Bruce and I had spent 47 years together; 47 years of ups and downs, of good days and bad,  but through those years a love developed that transcended all our differences.

It took 47 years to build that camaraderie that I was missing so desperately.  And 47 years is a long time.

And yet there is Someone who has been with me for even longer than that.  He has never left me for even a second, and even when I have neglected Him, His love has stayed strong, and He has waited patiently for me to return my focus on Him. And over the years we have been building up a relationship that goes beyond human comprehension.  

There are times when I get doing my own thing, and we seem to get separated by the circumstances around me. And during those times I find myself  dissatisfied with the lack of depth in my life.  I look for ways to fill that emptiness but nothing helps.  That's when it dawns on me, I haven't spent enough time resting on His shoulder, talking from my heart to the Love of my life.

As the kindling in my wood stove ignites and the roaring blaze begins to lift the chill from the air, my heart also warms, and the crying stops.  No, I am Never Alone.  Thank You my precious Savior and Best Friend!

For the next post see: Forty Eight Years Ago Today
For the previous post see: So much for letting the grief seep

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

So much for letting the grief seep

So much for letting the grief seep.  Last night and again today somebody must have pulled the plug.

Yesterday started so well.  I kept trying to figure out some way to be a blessing to someone else, so I wouldn't focus my attention on me.  I looked for ways to encourage through F.B. but nothing seemed to present itself, or maybe my own hurting soul was silently staging a protest.

 I'm not sure what it was, but I didn't see any opportunity to help anybody. 

My daughter was going to a ladies Bible Study that evening.  I had never gone.  I always hated the idea of going off and leaving my husband by himself.  We used to go to a Bible study together.

But there was no husband to leave behind now.  I decided to go with Samantha.  Maybe I could be a blessing to someone there.

The problem was, I was already feeling very heavy-hearted.

The study turned out to be the type where you do a lot of homework during the week and then get together to go over what you have written.  There was no actual Bible reading from the Bible.  It all came from a study book.

I felt totally out of place.  I was already feeling lost without my husband, and the disoriented feeling that overcame me wiped out any hope I had entertained of helping someone else.  In the end, that probably hurt the worst.

I was a total failure that night.  And before the ride home was over I was in tears.

I went straight to bed hoping that all would be better in the morning, but instead, I dragged the feelings back out again at dawn, and in spite of the glorious sunshine, I started on another pity party. A big one.

Thank God for family.  When I realized that I couldn't stop crying, I called my daughter and son in law, and they came over immediately.  The grandkids came along and their crazy cheerfulness and their great big group hugs were a blessing too.  It turns out that instead of God using me to bless someone else, God used my family to bless me.

I'm fine now.  And with the Lord's help, maybe tomorrow I can be a blessing to someone too.

For the next post see: Never Alone 
For the previous post see: Letting the grief seep

Friday, February 28, 2014

Letting the grief seep

"I don't know what is the matter with me," I confided to Paula, the pastor's wife. "I am a person who can't get through a testimony without crying, and yet now, when I should be wallowing in grief, I have cried very little."

Each of my children and grandchildren have been dealing with their grief in there own way.  Our son dealt with it in part while writing a wonderful eulogy:

 The younger set seem to shake it off easier, though maybe not as easily as we think.

But for me, he was a part of me.  We shared our life together for forty seven years. Every night of our marriage I told him that I loved him.  I still do.  So why am I not bawling my eyes out?

My biggest crying time is while I am in prayer, and maybe that is where the secret lies.  I have been so overwhelmed with thankfulness these last few days. 

Yes THANKFULNESS.  I can't help thinking of how God gave us these extra last three years together, and how He answered Bruce's plea for me by giving me the coconut oil business to keep me going; and how I can know for certain that I will see Bruce again; and how he is now probably greeting those to whom he played a major role in directing to that Heavenly shore.

There is so much to be thankful for that when I start to pray I usually burst out into tears of gratitude. 

But I am just beginning to realize that, while I am crying those tears of thanksgiving, the grief is seeping out as well.

For the next post see: So much for letting the grief seep
For the previous post see: Walking the path without him

Monday, February 24, 2014

Walking the path without him

After forty-seven years of walking together, our roads have divided for a time.  The Lord led Bruce home.

Now I have to walk my path without him, but I am not alone.  And I know that I am still being led.

How scary it would be if it wasn't for the fact that the one who knows everything, and loves me beyond measure, is the same one who is directing my path and holding my hand.

For the next post see: Letting the Grief seep
For the previous post see: God truly has led us along

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

God truly has led us along

I am giving thanks today.  I have cried a bit, but not with bitter tears, and I have pretended just a little bit too, but in total, my day has been about thanksgiving.

How precious these extra years have been that the Lord blessed us with.

The Lord told Bruce almost four years ago that he would extend his years just as he had extended Hezekiah's days.  Then, after nearing death's door in December of 2010, God directed me to use coconut oil, just as he had instructed Hezekiah to use figs,  and by February of 2011, Bruce had recovered enough to be part of his grandson's wedding.

Within a short time the Lord gave us the Shiloh Farm Products business, and gave Bruce the strength and wisdom to run it.

We have been given the opportunity to help many people who are hurting or in need of healing.  We have given our testimony whenever we get a chance.  And we have made many new wonderful friends.  I have also been given the gift of a means of income that I wouldn't have had before.  God is so good.

I have to be honest.  When I look at this picture, I can't help but want him back.  But then I think about the joy that he is experiencing on the other side, and I love him enough to be happy for him.

God led him home and I will continue to be thankful.  (even while I am shedding those bottled tears)

For the next post see: Walking the path without him
For the previous post see: Forty seventh anniversary

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Forty-seventh anniversary and then Home

As I rub coconut oil over the rash that is spreading over Bruce's body I am overwhelmed by the love that is unleashed through my hands.  It has been forty-seven years since I promised  to love honor and cherish him till death do us part, and this anniversary I feel that love more than ever.

If I had seen a picture of today, during those early years of marriage, I would have been horrified.  But the love builds and becomes more and more powerful.  God designed this well.

The homecare worker suggested taking him to a hospice  but I wanted him home, and he wanted to be home.  He came yesterday and has enjoyed being with family and in his own environment.  He had more energy, or maybe just more motivation to stay alert. 

The night was still difficult for him, so I was up for a while reading the Bible to him, but then he noticed that I was getting tired and that concerned him so I went back to bed, and he went back to sleep with a background of good music.

Thanks everyone for all your prayers.

For the next post see:God truly has led us along
For the previous post see: Improving I hope

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Improving I hope

Yesterday and the day before, I made most of Bruce's meals rather then let him eat hospital "food". Yesterday he didn't take his blood pressure pills. (His blood pressure is not that high, and they don't even monitor it anymore) or his antibiotics (which they were giving him just in case he gets an infection)

Yesterday, when the family was here, he was more alert than he had been before. Today he was even better, and not quite so jaundiced.

I know that people think we are in denial, and maybe we are, but we believe that the Lord is not going to let him die just yet.  Our  family and friends are all very supportive.

For the next post see: Forty Seventh Anniversary
For the previous post see: Family conference

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Family Conference

We had the whole family together at the Hospital in the conference room today.  Bruce sat up and took part in the discussion. We decided that as soon as we have seen the oncologist we will be taking Bruce home to the farm.  He will have nursing help and PSW workers, and will be provided with a hospital bed and anything else he might need.

We also decided to try to get outside help for the business to keep it going.

But none of us can fully grasp the fact that we could lose him any time.  We are still praying for another miracle.  It happened once, it can happen again.

Thanks for all your prayer support.  It means so much.

For the next post see: Improving I hope
For the previous post see: Cancer stage 4

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cancer Stage Four

It is cancer.  And we are still praising Him.  Yesterday, Bruce had the CAT scan.  In the afternoon the roads were so bad that the nurses sent the families home.  I went back to Susy's and Hank's.  Later in the afternoon, Bruce called.  Dr. Caal had been in to see him.  He told him it was cancer in the liver and colon.  He wanted to do a colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy was another test they had planned to do three and a half years ago but put off when they found the endocarditis.

They did it today and then came and talked to us.  It was colon cancer that had spread to the liver and lungs; stage 4. The doctor says they can't operate and he doesn't think chemo is an option.  I said it was OK; we would leave it in God's hands, and he agreed with that.  A doctor from oncology will be coming to see us tomorrow basically to talk.

We are at peace.  I believe that he will be healed, but as Bruce said today, whether he is here he is with the Lord or whether he is taken home he is still with the Lord.  Either way we will praise him.

For the next post see:  Family conference 
For the previous post see:  Spot on the liver

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spot on the liver

Here I am again sitting at Bruce's bedside in the hospital typing while he rests.  The Doctor was just in.  He said they want to do a CAT scan and then probably a biopsy.  He is worried that it could be cancer. 

But I remember them wanting to do the same biopsy almost four years ago.  He was in pain like he is now, and he had no appetite then either.  The difference then was that he also had a fever.  At first they thought the main problem was his liver.  They said he had cirrhosis of the liver. (not the kind caused by alcohol because he doesn't drink)  They were wondering about cancer of the liver, but then they discovered the endocarditis and everything else got set aside while they worked on the biggest crisis, a wrecked aorta heart valve.

The symptoms connected to the liver went away together with all the other problems when he started taking the coconut oil. His numbers stayed good and the doctor did not seem to have any concerns. That's why we were so shocked now after three years when it all started flooding back.

I've cried almost as much now as I did back then, and yet I know, just as I knew then, that God is still in control.

I know that Bruce could not have dealt with the liver problem three years ago.  There was way too much else to deal with back then.  But I had hoped that the problem had gone away and not just gone into hiding.

But even in this God has a plan for our good.  Three years ago we couldn't understand the why of that trial, but we still praised him, and now we understand.  Today I don't understand this new trial, but I will still praise him, and some day I will understand why Bruce is having to go through this.

For the next post see: Cancer stage 4
For the previous post see: We expect another miracle

Saturday, January 25, 2014

We expect another miracle

The more I read about cirrhosis of the liver the more awesome it seems that it didn't cause him any problems for 3 years.  Even before they knew he had endocarditis they diagnosed him with cirrhosis.  He had all the symptoms he has now, as well as the problems caused by the endocarditis. (the pain left after the operation, probably because the dementia blocked it.)

All the symptoms went away after we started the coconut oil, and even the doctor paid little attention to the liver, always saying that his numbers were good.

Why, I wonder, did it not show up again until now?  The doctor says cirrhosis of the liver does not go away.  Once you have it you always have it.  It only gets worse or at best, with a very careful diet, it could possibly be kept from getting worse too quickly.

Yet Bruce has lived for three years without any sign of cirrhosis.  That, in itself, is a miracle, but we are looking for another.  God has made us some promises, and we depend upon Him.  We are not defeated, but are expecting Bruce to be well enough to be at market in April. 

Thanks for your continued prayers.

For the next post see: Spot on the liver
For the previous post see: Update on Bruce's condition

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Update on Bruce's condition

I can't help hearing his groaning, as I toss in bed alone.  He is probably on the reclining chair, maybe the couch or the strait-backed chair.  His nights are spent playing musical chairs, or musical beds or whatever else there is he can rest on that may help him ignore the pain.

When I wrote that first paragraph I had no idea what was going on, only that he was in a lot of pain, that his appetite was gone and that his pulse was up, and yet his temperature was below normal.

Yesterday morning we went in to emergency and they did some tests.  They couldn't find anything, but they scheduled an ultrasound for this morning.  This evening the doctor called.  When a doctor calls in the evening it's not a good sign. 

He says there is a problem with the gallbladder and he has cirrhosis of the liver. These were problems that existed when he had endocarditis, but we thought they had been healed.  They certainly hadn`t given him any problems, and when he had asked the doctor about them, he had been told that everything was good.

Tonight all that changed.  The poisons are still in his system, and just when he starts feeling good they pop up again in one form or another.  Every year he winds up in the hospital for some residual symptom of the initial sickness that happened in 2010. 

 The doctor wants to see him tomorrow at 9:15am EST.  When a busy doctor gives you an appointment early the next morning that is definitely not a good sign.

What is going on, Lord?  We trust you.  We know you have led us step by step to where we are now, and that we are still walking in your perfect will for our lives, but . . .

When will it all end?  Give us grace to go through this, Lord.

But I will still be thankful.  His dementia has never come back, and his blood sugar is still normal.  The diabetes is gone.  Thank You, Lord, for that, and for all You will do in the future. 

I've shared this with you for a very special reason.  In 2010, when Bruce was near death, many of you from around the world prayed for him, and God miraculously healed him.  Now we need that prayer support again.

For the next post see: We expect another miracle
For the previous post see: Pitching our tents

Friday, November 08, 2013

Pitching our tents

"It's part of your birthday celebration; what would you like to do?"

My family had just thrown a surprise 65th birthday party for me, the day before, and now we were in St. Catherines visiting friends we had known since before we were married.

Their church held no service Sunday morning, and we were going to hear the Chapelaires in the evening.  I thought of going to a small church somewhere but they couldn't think of any.

Early that Sunday morning I thought of what I really wanted to do.  Bruce and I had met in St. Catharines and had spent a number of years there, moving several times while raising our family.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to visit all the places we had lived and do some reminiscing.

I got up early as usual and sat down with my Bible to read.  It opened to Numbers 9.  Verses 17 and 18 were underlined.  "And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched.  As long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents."

I thought, "wow! It's true with us too.  The Lord was directing each step we took."

As we traveled around town that day, that thought was the theme.  As we took pictures in front of each house we owned and the apartments we rented, we talked about how the Lord had led.

I'm excited to have the memories and the pictures, but even more blessed to know that even that day was part of God's plan for our lives, and I want to thank Him.

For the next post see: Update on Bruce's condition 
For the previous post see: Training my eyes

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Training my eyes

This whole eye drop/glaucoma/amnesian episode started me on a new adventure into the world of natural which I believe is the leading of the Lord.

I was frustrated. I was maybe even just a little jealous.  Why do I have to have problems with my eyes.  It's hard to blog without good eyessight.    My friend, who happens to have a degree in naturopathy and a number of other related  subjects, doesn't even need glasses and she is in her 70s.

Esther cured her bad eyesight when she was young and hasn't worn glasses since.  She does a lot of reading and her eyes are perfect.

She told me that her husband had started wearing glasses when he was preaching in dim light and couldn't see properly to read his Bible.  But now he is not using them any more.  Now he is training his eyes using pinhole glasses.

I tried on his pinhole glasses.  I could actually read with them.  Amazing!  No lenses, just a bunch of holes but they make the words come out clear.

 I decided to get some for myself. They take some adjusting to, but after using them my eyes feel better and I can actually see clearer than I could before wearing them.

I'm an old woman, going to be a senior citizen this year.  My eyes are old too and may never get back to seeing clearly on their own, but this feels like at least I am doing something.

As far as the glaucoma: we are working on that too in other ways, but I would still rather lose my vision than my memory. (See the previous post)

I believe God can heal eyes.  He has done it many times before.  Sometimes He said thy faith has made you whole.  One time He made clay and put it on the eyes.  I don't kow how He wants to do it, but all I can do is wait on Him.  Maybe He has sent me Esther to help me gain my vision.  Who knows?  Only He does.

If you want to find out more about pinhole glasses they have them at Amazon.  I didn't try the really cheep ones, but most of them run from $2.00 to $20.00, not a big investment.  These are the ones I have:  Pinhole glasses

For the next post see: Pitching our tents 
For the previous post see: Transient Global Amnesia 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Transient global amnesia

At first, when I found myself in a strange hospital yesterday, I had no idea why I was there.  I had no idea why my brother and his wife were there, or why Bruce wasn't.  But at first it didn't cross my mind to wonder why.

When they told me I had just been to my Uncle Hank's memorial service, I cried.  I had no recollection of my uncle dying, and I started to grieve all over again.   I had trouble believing that my favorite uncle could be dead.

I also found it hard to fathom that I had caught a plane by myself, and had flown to Winnipeg.  Why would I go to Winnipeg without Bruce?  That is still hard to understand, and I am guessing, it won't happen again.

It wasn't long before I realized that I had just had another incident of transient global amnesia.

Gradually, the recent past began returning to me.  I now remember that my uncle had cancer.  I also remember the beautiful service they held, and all the music that was sung in memory of a man with a clear tenor voice and a wonderful heart of gold.

But the fog is still there.  I vaguely recollect the breakfast we spent together the next day.  I do remember my tiredness, and I do have a foggy recollection of the start of a conversation with my sister-in-law, but then it all goes blank.

The next thing I remember is being in the hospital with my brother and his wife, and being weak and dizzy.  They told me that I had suddenly become confused and couldn't remember why I was there. They say I cried a lot after that, and asked the same questions over and over again.  I even mentioned the words transient global amnesia, so I was, sort of, aware of what was happening to me, but I don't remember any of that.

I'm OK today.  I dread going to the airport by myself to catch the plane early tomorrow morning. I still fear a recurrence, but I won't be alone.  Jesus will be with me and I am so thankful for His presence.

The most likely reason for the amnesia is the tiredness and the death of my uncle, but there is another possibility.

A short time ago I was told I needed to take eye drops to prevent loss of sight from glaucoma.  The first episode of amnesia happened while I was taking them.  When I checked possible side effects, memory loss was one of them.  I quit the eye drops.

I recently saw the eye doctor again.  He threatened me with eventual blindness if I didn't go back on the drops, so I complied and went back on the drops.

Was the recurrence of the amnesia due to the drops?  I don't know.

But God does.  I will wait for His leading, and trust in His care.  

For the next post see:  Training my Eyes
For the previous post see: 50 lbs lighter

Friday, January 04, 2013

Two years on coconut oil and fifty pounds lighter

It's been two years now since the Lord led me to try coconut oil when my husband had dementia and was dying.  I had no way of knowing then what all God had planned.  I was thrilled just to watch as Bruce's dementia disappeared and his health began returning.  And then I began to see his blood sugar dropping until he didn't need any insulin or pills any more. 

The focus was all on Bruce because he was the one who was so sick.  I hardly even noticed that I was starting to look and feel better myself. After the first month on coconut oil I started dropping a few pounds a month; not a lot, usually between one and four pounds, just enough to know that something was happening.

Out of the two years since we started, there have only been three months that I have not lost something, and I am now over fifty pounds lighter than I was before Bruce got sick. I am also off Pantaloc, a pill that cuts the production of acid in the stomach.

So both Bruce and I can now say, "Thank You God for the year of horrendous sickness in 2010.  It brought us to a place of health we never really expected to see again."

Once again we can see how God has been leading us along.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

God provided a way to get the job done

I had the boxes and bags of plants that God had given me, but now what should I do?  Although the front of my house had the topsoil replaced, I knew that it was not ready to have a bunch of perennials plunked in.

 I had learned a long time ago that if I wanted to be able to keep ahead with my garden, I needed to smother the weeds and fertilize the ground. I usually did it by laying down layers of newspaper or cardboard and then piling loads of compost over that.

I knew there was composted horse manure next door, and they had said I could take some, but I also knew that it would take me a month to get the amount I needed and the weather would not hold.  Still I asked the neighbor if it was alright if I came and got some.

But the Lord had already planned ahead.  He hadn't given me the flowers without providing the nourishment and protection they needed.

The neighbor had been given the use of a piece of machinery with a big bucket.  He was planning on moving the composted manure because it was in the way of the horse ring they were about to construct.  He would bring the stuff over.  All he needed to know was:  where would I like him to dump it.

I had just put out a whole lot of cardboard for recycling but found out it was the wrong week for recycling.  The cardboard was still there ready for me to use along with the newspapers I had been saving.

God had it all planned, even the week of beautiful weather that made it a joy to do the gardening.

I still wonder why He was so interested in seeing my flower garden progress, but I guess since He created the first garden which included every variety of flower, He obviously loves flowers even more than I do.

Incidentally, just in case you're wondering, the horse dung was so well composted that there was no smell to it.

To view the previous post see Another Treat from the Father

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another treat from the Father

The Lord had a neat surprise for me yesterday.

I needed to go into Owen Sound yesterday.  I had to meet with someone to drop off a case of coconut oil, and I needed to see about getting some doors and baseboard heaters from the Restore, which meant that I had to take the van.  The coconut oil barrels had been moved to the house so the van was empty.

I decided to stop at the compost site on the way in to town to see if I could pick up something to use as mulch. I was headed out, but then I went back in and grabbed my barn jacket, my crocks and my garden gloves just in case I would need them at the compost.

I did get a couple of bags of leaves to throw on the garden beds I was preparing at the front of the house.  I at least wanted to have the beds ready to plant with flowers in the spring.

Then I got an urge to go past our old place just to see what was happening to the garden there.  As I drove slowly past I realized that something had changed.  The cherry tree and my favorite saskatoon bush were missing.

I stepped on the brake.  I had to find out what had happened to the saskatoon bush.

When I knocked on the door and told the elderly lady who I was she was delighted that I had come.  She had been trying to reach me for several days.  She needed to get rid of a lot of the garden to cut down on her work load, and she wondered if I would like to take the plants.

I asked her about the saskatoon bush.  She said she had gotten rid of it, but when I showed my disappointment she took a closer look and told me that there was still some root in the ground.  Sure enough, the bush was sprouting up again.

I put on my old jacket, my crocks and my work gloves, and I was all set to go. (not just a happy coincident that they were in the van when I needed them) 

I now have a whole lot of perennials that I thought I would never see again.  They are like old friends who have returned to me after a short time away.

Isn't God good!

I've been working most of today planting flowers, and although the weatherman called for rain, I didn't get wet.  Thanks again, Lord.

To view the next post see: God provided a way.
For the previous post see: Whew! I can breathe again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whew! I can breathe again!  The last post on this blog we had found the house the Lord wanted us to have, but the road blocks preventing us from getting it were enormous. Our faithful Father has brought us through a lot of training sessions to get us where we are at today.

We have been too busy trying to beat deadlines to even post reports on the many ways our Lord has provided, other than a few quick entries on our Shiloh Farm Products blog.

This week I could see a goal in sight.

We have been doing all the work without a builder's loan or bridge financing because the banks won't even look at moving an existing house.  The Lord has been providing on a day to day basis, with an unexpected loan from a friend and the coconut oil business that He directed us into, but as the work progressed our resources stretched incredibly thin.

Contractors needed to be paid and there just wasn't the money to pay them.  They were OK to wait until we got our mortgage if it was soon, but that couldn't happen until we had an appraisal done, and the appraisal couldn't be done until the main part of the house was completed.

This week we were coming close.  I calculated just how much work was left to be jammed into the least amount of time and figured I could call the appraiser for Friday.  But the man had become super busy and said he wouldn't be able to do it till Monday at the earliest.

I was a little disappointed but realized that it was more realistic timing, and figured that God knew we couldn't get things done before then.

I have to laugh at His sense of humor.

The appraiser called yesterday (Thursday) after breakfast.  He could come at 2pm if that was OK with us.

I hesitated.  It was impossible.  There was no way we could get the whole house cleaned up, the siding patched where it was missing, the siding painted, the caulking done, the last bit of trim put up, the stair rail done, the light fixture put up, the den straightened out, the mounds of wood scraps cleaned up, etc. all before 2pm that day.

"Sure," I said.  After all, if the Lord hadn't wanted the appraiser to come on Thursday, He wouldn't have given him an opening he hadn't expected, or He would have left him to enjoy a couple of hours break in his otherwise hectic schedule. (he told us later that he had figured he would just stay home and catch up, but then he changed his mind and called us)

At this point I started to panic.  How could we do it?  Curtiss and Brandon were there to finish off a few jobs but that would take all day.  I was in the midst of filling a planter box that went along the stair way. I was making a mess but the job had to be finished before I could clean up.

I needed help and I knew who I needed, but I also knew that she had a terribly busy schedule and would be working.

Paula Classey is the pastor's wife at the little country church where we have been attending.  She works cleaning homes and buildings and has dealt with a lot of construction sights worse than ours.  She is also wonderful to have around at any time or situation.

But Paula almost never gets any time off.  I called anyway.

Guess what!  Paula had a day off.  Isn't God wonderful!

At 2pm the house sparkled.  The work had been done inside and out.  It was incredible, impossible, unimaginable, but the work that we would have had a hard time getting done in three days was finished in those few short hours.

The goal we have been working toward for months has been reached, and now we are just waiting to hear from the bank, the final hurdle.

God is still in control.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God is in the process of providing us a house

Only the Lord knows the right timing for every step of our journey.  When the supposedly firm offer on our home fell through we wondered why, and we were a bit disapointed, but neither of us doubted that it was all part of God's plan.

Then yesterday two things happened:

First we went to see a house a short distance away from our land.  It had been lifted off its foundation and was waiting to be moved.  It was in great condition and was the size and design we wanted.  And best of all, we could buy it and have it moved onto our property for about a third of what it would cost to build it.

Next, we got a call from our real estate agent.  The lady who had backed out of the offer on our home in town had resubmitted the offer.  This time her agent went with her to the bank to make sure it would work before doing up the offer. We signed the offer.  The closing date is June 29.

Both these things happened the same day. 

If the first offer had gone through we may have felt compelled to settle on house plans, none of which we could afford.  And now, even though humanly speaking we still can't afford anything, we know that God will provide the next step which is financing.

Keep tuned in to see how God provides.