Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Merry Christmas From The Found Family

Our very best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

[Please scroll to the bottom of this page and click PAUSE on the blog music first. Then click this link below]

NOTE: No elves were hurt in the making of this video!

~Michelle & Jon
Blake, Jacob, & Jared

*This video will apparently not be available after Jan 15, 2011.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, MoM!!!!!

Today, Nov 22nd, is my Mom's birthday.

Do I dare tell you her age? I guess since she doesn't have a computer and won't see this, it'd be okay to share it with you.

She's 69 years old today.

I can hardly believe it!

I only hope that I am as active as she is when I reach sixty-nine!

Here is a picture of my Mom with my Dad. It's a picture that was taken a couple of years ago, but it's a really good picture of her, and she would KILL me if I put a picture on here of her that she didn't like!

Jean & Dwain Fraser - October 2008

Last week, Mom showed me a picture of our family from 1974! (less Danielle.... she didn't come along until 1976).

This is my Dad (38 yrs), my Mom (33 yrs), me (on the left) at 7 yrs and my sister, Wannett (on the right) at 5 yrs.

Dwain & Jean, Michelle & Wannett Fraser - 1974
*Wannett - Celia is the spitting image of you in this photo!!!!

A neighbour of ours had gotten married and this picture was taken in their home. I remember these little dresses that Wannett and I wore. My Mom made them. She made many of our clothes when we were little. I remember when I was a teen, she was on a t-shirt-making binge. My nickname was Froggie and she found material with little frogs all over it. hahaha. Oh the memories!

So, back to Mom's birthday. I wanted to tell you a little story about my Dad's "gift" to her today.

Today my Mom had a dentist appointment in a neighbouring city, and since her youngest brother lives in that city, he had invited her out for a birthday luncheon. She asked me if I would mind checking on Dad around lunch time to ensure everything was okay. (My Dad has had multiple mini-strokes over the past decade and has trouble with walking, speaking, hearing, writing, etc.)

So I head down the road to my parents' home, and sure enough Dad is doing well.... sitting in his big recliner watching television with the volume muted while listening to a blaring radio. We chatted for a while and then the conversation turned to Mom's birthday.

I said to Dad, "I guess we should've got some flowers or something for Mom from you, eh?" He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. I chuckled and said, "How's about I find some artificial flowers somewhere here in the house and put them in a vase and you can give THOSE to her!" He gave a big smile, so I knew he approved of our little prank.

I rummaged through the house, and when I went into Mom's bedroom, I found a big clear vase full of pretty lavender coloured flowers that she had in the corner of her room. I brought them out for Dad's approval. He grinned.

I set them on the kitchen table, and then I hunted down some paper and crayons. I proceeded to draw some flowers on the front of a folded homemade card and wrote HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I asked Dad what else he thought we should write and he suggested, "I LOVE YOU". Sounded good to me. So I wrote a big I LOVE YOU in crayon on the inside of the card.

I then grabbed a pen and encouraged Dad to write his own name. He kept saying he couldn't do it (which is correct; many times he has trouble writing because he can't physically do it and because his mind can't remember how to spell due to the strokes). I said, "Oh yes, you can do it. I'll help you."

Well, it took us a while, but he did it. All by himself. One mark at a time.

D - W - A - I - N

Then I said, "How about an 'X' and an 'O' for a kiss and a hug?" Well, he thought that'd be great. So he managed to draw those. Then he looked at it and said, "I don't even know what those things are for!!!!!" hahahahaa. I had to remind him that they were a kiss and a hug. He laughed. But I think he was pretty darn proud of himself for writing his name and a big 'X' and 'O'.

So I took the card and tucked it in the beautiful bouquet of artificial lavender flowers that sat on the kitchen table. I wish I was there when Mom walked in the door. I would have loved to see the look on her face. She called me later and said I had forgotten to blow the dust off the flowers. hahahahahaa.

I later left her a message on her phone. I had the Chipmunks singing Happy Birthday on the computer and made it sound like our dogs and cat were singing to her. haha.

Well, it was certainly an inexpensive birthday, but it was full of valuable memories for ME! We don't usually make a big deal of birthdays at my place, but it was a fun afternoon with my Dad in trying to help him pull a birthday prank on Mom.

I am fortunate to have been born into this family. I cannot think of any better parents or sisters in the world. My parents were not rich with money by ANY means; but they loved us, and we never had a need go unmet. I am so very blessed.

So Mom, I hope you enjoyed Dad's gift. [grin]

Thank you for what you do and for who you are.

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, MoM!!!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Honest Abe

Again, I just can't get enough of these hilarious Geico commercials!

You must watch this one. It's priceless.

[Please remember to scroll to the bottom of the blog page and hit PAUSE on the blog music before clicking PLAY on the video.]

Geico Commercial - Honest Abe

Where do they come up with the ideas for these commercials????

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck?

Do you remember this childhood tongue twister?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

You're about to find out.....

[Please scroll to the bottom of this page before clicking PLAY, and click the PAUSE button on the blog music.]

Geico Commercial - Woodchucks

Another hilarious commercial that makes me chuckle.


Sorry, can't help myself sometimes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wee Wee Wee.....

I indicated in my last post that I was having trouble with downloading videos. I've decided to just download one at a time and see if that makes a difference.


Here's a commercial that I found to be extremely hilarious. Pardon my warped sense of humour.

[Please remember: Before clicking PLAY on the video, scroll down to the bottom of this page and hit the PAUSE button on the blog music.]

Geico Commercial - Piggy

I've got some more good ones coming up in the next few days!

Wee.... wee.... wee.........

Still makin' me laugh...... all the way home! HAHAHAHAAAAAAA [ba-dump-bump!]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Suffer Hardship

For at least three days now, I've been trying to upload videos to the blog....

.....without success!!!

Just when I thought it was going to work, ALL my PREVIOUS videos on the blog were not working either.


So I don't know what's going on with Blogger. I went online and tried to see if their formats changed, or if I had to install some sort of new program. Everybody had questions, others had answers, nothing seemed to work.

So I got fed up from trying and re-trying and trying some more and I just deleted the whole honkin' post!

I had some really funny videos to share, and maybe there was just a glitch in the system that maybe now has worked out; but I don't have the patience to try again today. It appears that my previous posts with videos are currently working.

This morning I took the time to read a small devotion out of a book I received as a wedding gift. The book is called A Threefold Cord and has 365 devotions in it, one for every day of the year.

Today's (November 16th) is about suffering hardship.

Now, I am certainly not saying that because I couldn't post some videos to my blog that I consider it a "hardship". Not at all. It was certainly trying my patience, but was not a hardship. I think in the last few years I've most definitely experienced some hardships that cannot BEGIN to compare with difficulty in posting a video!

But this devotion really spoke to me today.... kind of like God's way of saying to me, "I know you don't see the purpose in your current struggles, but I've got a plan.... a plan that involves suffering some hardships.... so don't worry about your struggles.... I've got it all looked after, and I promise you will benefit from them."

Isn't it just like God to keep me calm? He's just that kind of God. Must be frustrating for Him to deal with stubborn ol' whiney folks like me!!! I mean, really! Who doesn't want to have a nice comfy life? Who doesn't want everything to just flow along at a nice even pace? Who doesn't want everything to be rosey.

None of us want the storms and the rain and the thunder in our lives.....

We want the sunshine with the birds chirping and the gentle breeze with the flowers in the garden blooming full with colour...... ALL the time!

But God has other ideas. And in the book of James it tells us that we can expect trials and tribulations. Expect it! It's comin'! Unless of course you're experiencing it right now! And then when it's over, there's likely another trial just around the corner.

Well, chin up. It's in The Plan! God knows you're going through it. And some very experienced writers have some thoughts about it to encourage you. Here's today's devotional.

A Threefold Cord
November 16th
Page 327

"Suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God." (2 Timothy 1:8)
Having a hard time of it is not to be counted among the sore burdens of life. Having an easy time of it is much more to be dreaded. Nerve and unfailing pluck [courage] get temper and firmness out of hard times --- not out of hammock swinging. Only out of stress and strain comes the clear grit which tells. God pity the man or woman who has never had a hard time of it.
* * * * *
Dr. A. B. Simpson never sought nor expected an easy life. "What," he said, "would we think of Jesus if we ever found Him looking for His own pleasure and consulting His own comfort?"
* * * * *
The only crown a faithful soul will ever get from the world, or from a carnal church, will be a crown of thorns. Rev. G. Grubb
* * * * *
The way seems rough over brier and root,
And the road is so long;
But the Feet that were tired with going afoot
Help mine to be strong.
The Hand that He reaches out to me
Has a scar in the palm;
'Tis a heart that was broken on Calvary
Teaches mine to be calm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

[Please scroll to the bottom of the page and click the PAUSE button on the blog music before watching videos.]




Remembrance Day Video - 2010 - Exclusive WW2 Footage


"In Flanders Fields" is one of the most notable poems written during World War I. Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae is popularly believed to have written it on May 3,1915 after he witnessed the death of his friend.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


In Flanders Fields - Anthony Hutchcroft


Lest we forget.
God, heal our land.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Rippin' Up The Keyboard

Last post I mentioned that I was gonna tell you something I've been up to lately.


you might be interested to know that I've decided to take up piano lessons again!

I haven't taken lessons since back around 1979 or so.

I had thought about taking guitar or mandolin lessons, but Blake decided to take these two instruments, along with his fiddle, to college in New Brunswick. So I had to scrap that idea.

Then an opportunity was put before me to take piano lessons from the multi-talented Tony Silvestri.

And, I am thrilled to tell you that I started lessons last month.

I first met Tony a number of years ago at The Milford Fair. My boys were performing with their fiddles and then Tony came on stage with his piano and blew me away with his talent at such a young age!

I've watched Tony perform over the years, and he continues to fascinate me. He and Sebastian Sallans performed together with Fiddlers Found a couple of summers ago in an old schoolhouse, unrehearsed, and it was a great show.

I'm thankful for this opportunity to learn from one of the best pianists I've ever heard. I wanted to show you a video that I watched this week of Tony. Now, I'm fully aware that I won't be rippin' up the keyboard like THIS anytime soon; but it gives you a taste of the talent that this young man has!


[Before pressing PLAY, please scroll to the bottom of this page and PAUSE the blog music!]

Tony Silvestri's Crazy Piano Video

Fascinating, eh???

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Busy Boys

One would think with this "skeleton crew" on duty at our house, I would have lots of "spare time".....


At this very moment I am actually taking my first break in quite some time. I'm in the rec room in front of the woodstove and the television and the computer! ha. I have "Saturday Night Hockey In Canada" on the tube, and just watched The Leafs goalie make an amazing save. Looked more like he was playing soccer, as he bounced the puck off his body and into the air. Fabulous save.

And speaking of soccer, I must update you on my youngest son's achievements this week. Jared's game last week proved to be quite intense as the PECI Panthers battled Nicholson for the Bay of Quinte championship title. I had a funeral to attend and then headed to the game, where I found our team down 2-1. The boys worked hard to regain momentum, but Nicholson fought through and won with a score of 3-1. You can see a fabulous photo of Jared (dressed in black & white) and a write-up of the game in The Picton Gazette by clicking HERE.

But even though the Senior & Junior PECI Boys Soccer teams lost last week's games, both teams moved onto COSSA (Central Ontario Secondary School Association) in Port Hope on November 4th. I am proud to report that Jared and his teammates won their first game and moved on to the finals. After a tough battle, they were defeated by one. Congratulations on your Silver, gentlemen. First place last year and second place this year..... that's a lot to be proud of!

The Senior team won their first game and moved on to the finals as well. Tying up the game, they treated the crowd to some overtime soccer where they scored the game winning goal, taking home the Gold. Congratulations to the Senior boys for their first-ever COSSA Soccer First-Place title! I am definitely a Proud Panther Parent!!!!!

[Oh... hang on.... big fight on the tv in the hockey game between a Leafs player and a Sabre.........
OK, it's over.... two in the penalty boxes! haha]

Anyways, the rain came down for most of the day in Port Hope, and unless there's lightning, you continue to play. The umbrellas helped the spectators somewhat, but we were pretty damp for the day. Unfortunately today, as temperatures drop, I am feeling the results. My poor ol' joints are aching quite a bit. I was hoping the woodstove would help, but I can't seem to get this heat to stop the throbbing in my legs and lower back. Sign of old age? [grin]

It also didn't help that Jared had a double-header in the cold hockey arena today. He won his first game, and then stayed to fill in as goalie for the next game, which resulted in a win as well. I'm tellin' ya, that boy just makes sports look so easy. He gives it his all, no matter how he's feeling. And those glove-saves in the goalie's net make it look like he's playing baseball!

I was recently asked if I really enjoy watching my boys at their sporting events. My answer? "Ohhhhh yaaaaaaah!" I really really do love it.....; wish I was warmer, wish I was dryer, but oh yah, baby, I LOVE it. I am so proud of them. Just like when I watch them perform with their fiddles and make so many people happy with their musical talents..... it makes me so thrilled. I don't think the boys will truly understand that until they become parents themselves. Or maybe it's just a Mom-thing. I don't know. But I do know I'm proud of them and love them sooooo much.

I never stop being concerned for them. Jon and Jake delivered in Chicago this morning, and I see on Facebook that they are staying at a hotel tonight in Chicago. Jon wrote that he had a nap while Jake went swimming in the pool downstairs. After his nap, Jon writes that he went to check on Jake and saw that he was in good hands! (Apparently there was a young lady swimming as well!). So MY first thought is: "Why on earth is my husband leaving my baby unattended in CHICAGO, of all places!". I replied to Jon's comment on Facebook by stating that perhaps it would be in Jon's best interest to ensure my son's safety in that city or else his transport would be his new home! And Jake can spend the winter at home with ME!

What's hard for me to remember is that Jacob is an eighteen (almost nineteen) year old boy, and when JON was that age, he was travelling to Chicago ALL BY HIMSELF! It's no wonder his poor mother worried and never wanted him in the trucking industry. I didn't worry about Jon taking Jacob with him in the truck because they're TOGETHER; but when hubby is snoozing away and Jake is walking around by himself...... well..... let's just say I'm likely not gonna sleep well tonight. I've said this in previous posts, but can I once again state that I wish my children were still babies, toddling around at my feet?

And my eldest son that is around a 13-hour drive away is not excluded from my concern either, although I must tell you that he is doing WONDERFUL. Blake received his infusion of Remicade on October 26th in New Brunswick. By that evening, he felt considerably better! In fact, I think he stated he even felt better that afternoon! I don't know what ingredient in that drug makes it so effective, but "hats off" to the man or woman that discovered it!

Around the middle of this past week, I had sent Blake a couple of messages asking how he was feeling, as I hadn't really chatted with him much since his infusion. He said he was "fine"... his favourite word! I said, "Well, on a scale from one to ten, one being bad and ten being perfect, where are you on that scale?" He replied, "A twelve!" YIPPEEE! I was thrilled.

The other night he called and said he was interested in playing some pick-up hockey with some other folks in Sussex. I had to chuckle a bit because Blake has NO interest whatsoever in sports events. (He played T-ball as a little boy, and he played house-league soccer for about two years as a young boy; but his interests have always been more in music.) So I was taken aback when he said he wanted to play hockey. I said to him, "You realize that's the sport with the little round black piece of hard rubber that you chase across the ice with a stick while on skates, right?" hahahhaaa.

Then he informed me that their ice-time was at 10:30 at night! Oh brother. All I could think of was that Blake needs as much sleep and rest as possible with his disease, yet he's heading out to play hockey at 10:30 at night? But, as a friend reminded me today, it's only pick-up hockey, so if he gets tired and needs to sit down, then it shouldn't be a problem. It's not likely to get too aggressive for him. I just hope he listens to his body!

He still has a very busy schedule with his school work, and he is continuing to make most of his own meals. I am hoping that with Jon and Jake trucking so hard lately that we will have a bit of extra money for December so we can maybe fly out and spend some time with Blake before he heads to Brasil for Christmas and New Years. I'm trying to not get my hopes built up in case it doesn't work out; but I sure would like to see him before he heads out. Otherwise I won't see him again until March. It's certainly an adjustment after spending the whole summer right by his side as we were in and out of hospitals. But at least his health is coming along; I am grateful for that fact.

Well folks, I must put another log on the fire. I need to eat something for supper (it's already 9:20pm!). Jared is out with friends tonight so I'm having some yummy leftovers. I wasn't hungry until now. I could kill for a big slice of pizza! haha

Thank you to everyone for remembering us in your prayers. [You know who you are!] God is faithful. And we are blessed.

Until next time...... keep your stick on the ice. [grin]

(Next post I'm hoping to show a video that will give you an idea of something I've been involved in lately! Hmmmm.... think you can guess?)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Asked For Updates, You've Got Updates!

Once again I've gotten side-tracked and not been faithful in making some posts to keep you all updated. I don't know what's been going on lately with me! One would think that I would have lots of time with two birds out of the nest.

But nay-nay.... lots going on. When I make a list of everything I've been doing, I imagine that I could have it all completed in just two full days.... so why has it been a whole week? I don't know. Maybe I just have trouble focussing. All I know is that before I know it, I'm crawling back into bed after a full day and have to wonder what filled up my whole day?

I know some of you can relate.

So because I've been running into many folks who keep asking about how the boys are doing, I'll give an update here today.

I have a bit of time today for blogging because Jared had to miss today's hockey game. Jared fills in on one of the Bantam league teams because there were not enough Bantam-aged kids to form teams. Midget players were brought down to help fill in and build up the numbers. (Some Peewee players may have been brought up to play as well; I'm not sure about this, though.)

Yesterday at the highschool's soccer playoff game, a Moira player's knee connected with Jared's front thigh, and down Jared went. He hobbled around for a bit and was able to finish playing, but after the game the leg was pretty sore. He was in a lot of discomfort last night and this morning, so he decided it would be too painful to play hockey. (Sorry about that, Coach Clark!)

That boy gives his all when he plays. It amazes me. In fact, I've told him to STOP playing so hard! He doesn't care if he gets hurt! I will tell you right now that he did NOT inherit that trait from his Momma! He's had more bumps and bruises and cuts and skin ripped off his body. He has sat with his leg up some evenings after a game and we have watched his leg, where the skin has been ripped off, literally ooze!!!! It's not pretty, folks!

The boys on the PECI Panther teams (Junior & Senior) have done an excellent job on the soccer field this season. I am so proud of all the players (even the opposing teams) who go out to play soccer (or any sport!) to support their school. I'm glad we have programs like this. Thank you to the teachers and the coaches (that's you, Dave Mather!) who volunteer their time to these kids. It is greatly appreciated.

So Jared will spend today relaxing to rest his leg, and hopefully he will feel better for the Midget hockey game on Sunday evening. My goodness, I'll go through withdrawal if he can't play! I'll have to just go to the arena anyways and watch his teammates play! haha.

As many of you know, Jake has been working in Georgetown with Jon's friend who is a landscaper. As soon as Jake graduated from high school, he was outta here! He has enjoyed his time up there; but 'tis the season for him to move on. The landscaping work pretty much comes to an end this time of year.

He could've stayed on to do some snow plowing, but since you never know how much snow you're going to get through the Winter, Jake has decided that he would like to truck with his Dad over the Winter. I told him I thought it was a great idea; however, we are of the understanding that he'll be returning to the landscaping business in the Spring. He assures me this will be the case.

Jon and Jake are just now leaving South Dakota with a load of pork and heading to Toronto. They seem to be having a good trip together. Jon says that just having Jake with him feels like he received a blood transfusion. I told Jake to ensure that Dad doesn't sleep in the bunk while Jake unloads the trailer by himself! haha. They just finished updating their Facebook statuses, so I think they're good to go!

Poor Jake must return home this week in order to receive a root canal on one of his teeth as well as a wisdom tooth extraction. He's been in a lot of pain, but the antibiotics have been doing their job and settling the discomfort in his mouth. He was bet and bound, though, that he was going with Dad in the truck! I expect to see them return home some time on Monday.

As Tuesday rolls around, we will breathe another sigh of relief as we anticipate Blake receiving his next dose of Remicade in New Brunswick. Things are all set up for his meds to be administered in Saint John.

His discomfort has been quite minimal, although he did have a bit of pain and fatigue a few days at the end of September or beginning of October. He missed classes one morning and I believe there was another day where he laid down for an afternoon nap and slept through his class. (But he felt better after the nap!)

He was home for Thanksgiving weekend, which we were thrilled about, and he seemed to be feeling relatively well. I was talking to him on the phone the other morning and he asked me to hang on as someone was at his door. I overheard the conversation; and when Blake returned to the phone, he clarified to me that the person was someone from the maintenance department who had very kindly taken the time to make Blake a crockpot of homemade soup! Blake said he'd been talking to her about a month ago when she asked about his health situation, and then she shows up with all this soup for him! What a blessing! Oh how New Brunswick reminds me of Prince Edward County! People are so kind.

So Blake's friend, Aaron, will graciously drive Blake to Saint John early Tuesday morning for his infusion. Blake said that he was supposed to have an exam that day, but his Professor is kindly letting Blake write it the next day. (Thank you, Mr. Professor!!!) Thankfully Aaron has no classes scheduled until later that day, and since Blake's appointment is 8:30am (I think), then there shouldn't be any problems in getting back to the school in plenty of time.

Blake has conveyed to me that his workload is extremely full... overloaded....; however, he says the work comes quite easy to him, he understands it very well. He says, "There's just a LOT of it!". It's apparently very time consuming, along with the hours that he is required to put in at the library. He works 8 hours per week. Now add the fact that he cooks his own meals and must do his own dishes and cleanup and add some laundry in there...... and don't forget about chat time with his sweetheart (Hi Anelyse!), it gets to be a jam-packed schedule. I think he's getting enough sleep; but I also know he's like his Momma and if that sleep time gets broken or cut short, look out! hahaha.

So overall, he's doing well. I so appreciate the school that he's attending. They are a very caring bunch of staff and students and community, and I would recommend Bethany Bible College to anyone!

So, what's up with Jon? Pretty much the same-old-same-old. Jon is still enjoying his life in the trucking industry. He's happy out there doing what he does best. These shorter runs ('shorter' meaning that he's gone 5-7 days as opposed to 10-12 days) seem to be working out really well for him. If he does come home tired, a good night's sleep seems to suffice; whereas he used to come home and sleep and would never truly get caught up.

Jon is thrilled that Jake is travelling with him for the Winter, and I think they'll have a good time. Jon is a hard worker and gives his all.... good attributes to pass on to his children. He has more love for me and our boys in his big toe than many have in their whole heart. He never gives up and he's willing to help anyone who needs it. I am hoping the boys forget our bad habits and traits and are able to focus on these good ones. I am a very fortunate woman to have Jon in my life.

And speaking of me and my life, it certainly has been busy lately. I am very happy that much of my time is spent with or for my boys. I thoroughly enjoy heading to all of Jared's sporting events (even like yesterday when I was bundled up with three sweaters, a winter coat, ear muffs, gloves, boots, a blanket AND a sleeping bag on the soccer field sidelines! It was c-c-c-cooooold!). I am happy to sit in the hockey arena bundled up, sitting on a blanket, and cheering on those kids!

I spent one afternoon this week at a funeral for my friend Linda's husband. Steve became ill early this past Summer and was given only possibly a few short years to live. Unfortunately he lived for only approximately another four months.

Now I know that we're programmed in this world to believe that a funeral is not a good thing. And of course, none of us are happy about someone dying. However, I have attended some amazing funerals where it was a celebration of their life topped off with a parting "see you again one day". If you've never attended a funeral like that, I can assure you that you are truly missing out on an amazing event!

I have attended many funerals of celebration where the service was a testimony of our Lord in their lives. And I left with the assurance that I would one day see them again in eternity. I would leave those funeral services and think "THAT's the kind of service I want when I leave this earth!".

Well, that's exactly what I said when I left the funeral service for Steve. After we heard an "Amen" praise song by two local amazing musical artists, we spent the next 45 minutes or so of the service hearing story after story about Steve. It was non-stop. We heard of things he'd done and said, impacts he'd made on others' lives, his love for family, friends, community, his job..... as well as the love that others had for him! And then the service turned to about ten minutes of God's thirst-quenching presence in our lives. It wasn't "preachy", it wasn't "flowery".... it was to the point. It made an impact. A brilliant presentation of an acapella Amazing Grace was given once again by the two amazing musical ladies, whose voices in that old United Church with the high ceilings and amazing acoustics sounded like that of angels!

Meanwhile, throughout the service, you could just see it was hard for Linda to sit still in her seat. She was itching to jump up and praise Jesus throughout that service. As the casket was wheeled down the aisle to the back of the church, Linda's face beamed with radiance and a smile stretched from ear to ear. She clapped her hands to the song which was blaring through the sound speakers... Life Is A Highway... apparently one of Steve's favourite songs.

Oh, Lord, that I would be able to praise You like that under such circumstances! It's the heart's cry.... Fill me, Lord; mold me; make me; use me....... ANY time, ALL the time...... even at a husband's funeral. What a testimony to the saved and unsaved!

It was truly a celebration. God is alive. Even at a funeral. His presence is everywhere and with us all the time. Even during the dark times when it's hard to maybe sense His presence. He's there, folks. He's always there. Ask Linda. She'll tell you the same thing.

God bless you, Linda, as you grieve the loss of your husband and friend, and know that God shone through you on Wednesday. We love you.

Well, friends, I have more to write about, but I think I'll save it for another post. Jared and I are excited to watch some good ol' Saturday Night Hockey In Canada tonight as we watch the Leafs defeat the Flyers (might want to pray for this to happen because I have SO rubbed this in a friend's face (all in good fun) and don't want to stand with egg on my face or have to eat humble pie! haha).

Trusting that you enjoy some great quality time this weekend with friends and family. We truly do not know how long we have with them. Cherish every moment and opportunity.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

33 Chile Miners Praising God!

Were you like me yesterday? Glued to the screen? Watching one of the most amazing rescues of our times in Copiapo, Chile, South America?

Thirty-three gentlemen trapped in a mine approximately one kilometer in the bowels of the earth for 69 days. Over two months of wondering every moment whether or not you will soon meet your Maker.

The tomb served as their home, and their co-workers were now their family.

After a disaster in the mine, they were all able to reach the underground shelter where they were careful to ration what food they had. Over time the workers above were able to drill a hole to them the diameter of a grapefruit, where they sent down food and water for these survivors.

It appeared to be a rescue mission that would not be complete until Christmas time. (That's right.... CHRISTMAS TIME!!!... can you imagine???) Families camped out at the site for the 69 days, never giving up hope. In fact, that is what they called it.... Camp Hope. God moved in a mighty way; and through the hard work of officials and rescue workers, things started clicking.

In the evening of October 12, 2010, the rescue mission was about to begin. At midnight, just as the calendar turned to October 13th, the mission began where Phoenix 2, a large capsule which would one-by-one bring the men to safety, was lowered into the earth.

One man at a time was winched back up to the earth's surface by a large metal cable, provided by the country of Germany. What joy filled the hearts of millions of people around the world as each one stepped out of the capsule and onto solid ground, donning sun glasses to protect their eyes from the natural sunlight that they had not viewed for well over two months!

And as soon as he was unharnessed and cleared his way from the capsule, it's door was shut once more and lowered back to the bowels. (Kevin, just so you know, it's my blog so I don't need permission to use the word "bowels".... [wink, wink]. Sorry folks, just a little friendly joke between a handful of friends).

As I timed the rescue from Miner #12 to Miner #19, each one seemed to surface approximately every 40 minutes. As I had plans to attend my son's highschool soccer game that afternoon, I had to leave the screen. It was a very difficult thing to do. I wanted to watch this amazing rescue and see each family greet their beloved husband, father, son, uncle, brother, nephew.... But I knew I would be able to watch the rescue once I returned home.

Imagine my amazement that in just a matter of less than six hours, they had rescued eleven more men!! Wow. They must have cranked up the accelerator on the winch because I had no idea they would be that far along. Earlier reports suggested that they would not all be out of the shelter and back onto the earth's surface until some time around lunch on October 14th.

After the 33 miners were rescued, they returned the capsule six more times to the ground to retrieve six rescue workers who bravely stepped forward to travel down into the mine to assist the miners.

Can you imagine being the last man in that hole? All by yourself? Watching the second-last man go up the long dark tunnel, leaving you all alone? My heart ached for this dear lone man.

Communicators on the earth surface kept talking to him on the phone that was down there, and after what seemed a very long time to me, the capsule finally poked through the hole once again to bring the last man to safety. He turned to the camera and waved goodbye, stopping only to gather a few pieces of loose rock from the mine floor to keep as a momento.

The other men who climbed into the capsule always had someone else to shut and latch the door for them, but this man had to do it on his own. I kept thinking, "I sure hope that latch is accessible from the inside!". After giving a shout and flashing his light, which was the signal that he was ready, the capsule once again, for the last time, started upwards on it's long journey to millions of people watching and praying.

And then, at approximately 11:30pm (Eastern Standard Time), the capsule appeared and the last of the 33 miners and 6 rescuers was safe at last.

I don't think I've cried that much since 9-11 back in 2001.

But those tears had no sadness. They were all tears of joy for these dear brave men.

And just in case you're one of those folks that likes to play with numbers, check this out:

33 miners were saved on October 13, 2010. The date is written 10/13/10. If you add that together, look what you get: 10+13+10 = 33.

I thought that was very interesting. Much like the disaster in the United States of America on September 11th, 2001, which was the ninth month, eleventh day.... 9-11. (911 is, of course, our emergency number when dialling for help).

I was so happy that many of the men gave thanks to God... not just a "Oh-yah-thanks-God" attitude, but rather true heartfelt deep praise to our God who proved today that miracles still happen. One miner dropped to his knees in praise to our Father before they could even unharness him as he came out of the capsule. Another miner described it as meeting God down there as well as meeting the devil, but God won.

I can only imagine that each one has gotten his life into perspective over these last two months and how they have plans to make some changes. One miner sent a message to his girlfriend of 25 years saying that once he returned to earth, they would marry and have a church wedding. I'm willing to bet that wedding will be a televised event! haha.

The President of Chile, President Pinera, remained faithful at the site and greeted each miner as they returned. He also spoke with each rescuer who entered the capsule to descend into the hell-hole deep within the earth and was there to greet each rescuer upon their return. He took time to comfort family members.

When asked about the cost of the rescue operation, the President replied that the cost did not matter.... what mattered was saving the miners. When asked if it was in the millions of dollars, the President hesitantly replied (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Yes. It's in the millions. But it doesn't matter! What matters is that they're alive and safe."

Greetings and well wishes were being sent to Chile's President from officials all over the world. He promises to make changes to the mining industry to make things safer. Apparently this mine was closed down many years ago, but was re-opened by a small independent mining contractor. It's a hard enough job when conditions appear to be safe, but to have this happen in an already-previously-closed mine makes it difficult to swallow! I am hoping this Chilean President is true to his word.

Accidents like this don't usually result in a happy ending. In most mining accidents miners are dead before even reaching an underground shelter. In this case, to have 33 miners make it to a shelter, survive for 69 days, and then travel approximately half a mile through the earth's crust back to the surface with no problems, no glitches,.... well, it's amazing. It truly is a miracle.

I am thankful I was able to witness a miracle. I am thankful our Lord still sits on the throne. I am thankful of His promises that He never ever leaves us (Psalm 121).

And one more little miracle to note.... One miner's wife delivered their beautiful baby daughter while he was trapped some 700 metres below. He is the proud father of Esperanza, which is Spanish for Hope.

And after we just finished celebrating our Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, it's 33 more reasons for us to be thankful!

God bless you, Chile.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

I am very thankful this year for the hundreds and hundreds of people who have surrounded us this past year (actually the last few years!) with your compassion and generosity during our very difficult times.

I mean it when I say that I am one blessed woman!

I pray for your Thanksgiving 2010 to be full of love and blessings with much gratitude to our Father for what He continues to pour down upon us!

I simply want to share some cute Thanksgiving Day comics with you to make you smile. Enjoy!

[Oh yah.... PS to Blake: I was thinking maybe you and I should be first in the "chow-down line" since we were in the hospital last Thanksgiving! What do ya say? ;o) hahaha]

From our family to yours, have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Never Let Go

There are moments in this life when time seems to stop,

when your breath catches you,

when you get that knot in the pit of your gut,

and then it turns to a sick churning in the deep of your stomach,

when your heart physically feels like each chamber is breaking, being ripped apart.

Every parent feels it when they hear the news.

It doesn't have to be your own kid because you instinctively put yourself in the parents' position.... knowing in your head, knowing in your heart, that one day it could be you getting the phone call, the policeman at the door, the doctor walking the long hall.... to tell you your life is about to change in the blink of an eye.

To tell you your loved one is gone.

Gone from this earth.

All that's left is the body. In this case, a body that couldn't survive an automobile accident. A now broken body. Another boy tries his best to revive the motionless broken frame that lies limp on a roadside.

As humans, we do what we can. Sometimes we can wrap our mouth around their's and blow life-giving air back into their lungs; sometimes we can manipulate their chest and make the heart believe that it's still capable of more years of beating.

And sometimes we can't.

Sometimes no matter what we do in our mortal flesh or in our spirit's outcry to God above, the decision has been made by our Maker that one's time on earth is finished.

That we will no more walk this earth.

That we now come face to face with God our Creator, Who had our lives planned from beginning to end before we were even created in our mother's womb. Our frame was not hidden from Him, for He knit us together; we were woven together in the depths of the earth. All the days ordained for us were written in His book before one of them came to be.

And October 1st, 2010 was the last earthly day that a young eighteen-year-old boy would live here on earth.

Left behind is a mother and father and sister. Ohhhh, as a mother my heart feels the mother's writhing pain. As I watched them hug their son in his casket, the tears filled my eyes and literally gushed down my cheeks along with others in the sanctuary, hundreds and hundreds of students and friends and adults and family watching.... feeling the pain..... shedding their own tears... feeling their own hearts break.... knowing that this mother's heart could never ever hurt more than at this moment.

Stories are told of a kind boy who wasn't afraid to every day verbally share his love to everyone he knew with three simple words.... "I love you". How those words will be missed from the curly red-haired, freckled-faced kid.

I can imagine his mother telling him those very words as she leaned onto his lifeless body and gave him her last goodbyes.... not wanting to let go.... not wanting to let go of his body, to let go of her baby....

As his casket is closed and driven to a cemetery and laid in the ground, she must feel her arms are empty because she's had to let go of him in the physical sense, never to feel his freckled skin again.

Sometimes we have to let go. We may not want to, but we have no choice. In this instance, we cannot hold onto the body. We must let go.


the memories,

the pictures,

the stories,

the conversations,

his favourite toy,

his favourite shirt,

a video of him laughing and talking......

these things we have in our possession, in our minds, so that we never have to let go. These things stay etched in our thoughts and in our hands and in front of our eyes and in our hearts so that we never have to let go.

We have a Saviour Who never lets go of us. He carries us, He walks beside us and before us and around us. He never lets go of us when we're hurting or sad or in pain. Even when we're happy and content, He still doesn't let go.

He surrounds us and lives in us and lives through us. He is there to lift us from the pits and help us through the valleys. He protects us in the dark shadows. He knows what we're feeling, He understands our pain and even our anger that we sometimes direct to Him in times like this. And He still never lets go.

Friend, I would encourage you to call on Him. Be honest with Him about how you're feeling, about your pain, about your confusion, about your anger, about your hurt. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to comfort you. Ask Him what you can learn from this tragedy and how you can make a difference to help someone else.

He promises that He will never let go. Ever.

Below is a video with a song called Never Let Go. Before listening to it, please scroll to the very bottom of the page and hit the PAUSE button on the blog's music. Then return to this spot and hit PLAY.

Never Let Go - David Crowder Band

Our very deepest condolences to Kathy (and Barry & Ian), Bill (and Rebecca), & Kaitlyn on the loss of your son and brother. Never let go.

God bless.

Tyler McConnell

May 13, 1992 - October 1, 2010

*Photo from Ethan Todd's Facebook Photo Album (Thanks, Ethan.)

He Listened
by Joseph Bayly
Written after he laid three of his sons in the grave

I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God's dealings, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly, he said things I knew were true. I was unmoved except to wish he'd go away. He finally did.

Another came and sat beside me. He just sat beside me for an hour and more, listened when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Grandma's Pie Secret

With our celebrations of Thanksgiving here in Canada this coming weekend, I wanted to share something with you regarding Grandma's pie secret.

This really is confidential, so please keep it hush-hush.

In case the print comes up too small for you to read, here's what it says:
Grannie made such beautiful pies. One day I asked her, "How do you get such beautiful pies with the crimps around the edge so even?"
"It's a family secret," she said, "so promise not to tell. I roll out the dough, then cut a bottom layer and carefully put it in the pie plate. Then I slowly pour the filling, making sure it's not too full. Next I cut a top layer and put it over the filling. Finally I take out my teeth and just run them around the edge of the pie crust and they make the nicest even impressions you ever did see."
So, folks.... enjoy your Thanksgiving pie!
And remember..... Shhhhhhhh!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Do Others See Jesus In You?

Do others see Jesus in you?

"... He chose them to become like his Son... " Romans 8:29 NLT

Bill was a drunk, converted in a Skid Row mission. Before his conversion he had gained a reputation as a tramp and an alcoholic for whom there was no hope.

But when he gave his life to Christ everything changed. He became the most caring person at the mission. He spent his days there doing whatever needed to be done. There was never anything he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up vomit left by some sick alcoholic or scrubbing toilets used by men who had left them filthy, Bill did it all with a heart of gratitude. He could be counted on to feed any man who wandered in off the streets, undress him and tuck him into bed when he was incapable of taking care of himself.

One evening after the mission director delivered his evangelistic message to the usual crowd of solemn men with drooped heads, one of them came down to the altar and kneeled to pray, crying out for God to help him change. The repentant drunk kept shouting, 'O God, make me like Bill! Make me like Bill! Make me like Bill!'

The director of the mission leaned over and said, 'Wouldn't it be better if you prayed, "Make me like Jesus"?' After thinking about it for a few seconds, the man looked up and asked, 'Is He like Bill?'

Live, so that others see Jesus in you!

Taken from The Word For Today with Bob Gass at The Vine Today