Friday, April 16, 2010

Mommy, Please Don't Cry...

Yesterday, April 15th, I attended a funeral service for a dear woman of God, Mrs. Pearl McCaw. Her funeral service was held on the day when she should have turned 88 years old.

Can I just tell you that it was one of the most beautiful funeral services I have been to in a long time. Oh the good ol' hymns we sang and the tributes that were read, and the sermon that was preached..... Fan-tas-tic! It was a time of celebration, really. Yes, of course there were lots of sad tears; and yes, we mourn her loss and we are heartbroken for her daughter and son and their spouses and the grandchildren and her surviving siblings......

But we celebrated her life, a life dedicated to the Lord, and we celebrated her home-going.... her heavenly home. I am sure her husband, her dear sweet husband, Rev. Robert McCaw, who I am honoured to say was a dear friend to Jon and me and performed our wedding ceremony, met her as she stepped from this life into the next and into the arms of Jesus. What joyous reunions were happening in the heavenly realms!

Despite the celebrations, I do, however, have a heavy heart today. Yesterday we were able to celebrate Mrs. McCaw's home-going because, well, at almost 88 years old, you expect that one's time on this earth will soon come to an end. She lived a good life. She lived her life as a child, then a young woman, then a wife, then a mother, then a grandmother.... she was a friend, a prayer warrior, a woman of God. She lived a full life.

But tomorrow, April 17th, marks the anniversary date of the death of someone else..... someone taken long before we expected..... someone taken at the tender age of almost eight....


Kristen is my best friend's daughter. She died eleven years ago. She was taken to Heaven quickly and unexpectedly. As far as the Lord is concerned, it was all part of His plan, for He had Kristen's life already planned out when she was knit together in her mother's womb (Psalm 139:13). All the days were ordained for Kristen and were written in His book before she was even created (Psalm 139:16).

In our timetable, Kristen was here not near long enough; but in our Lord's timetable, she was here for just the right amount of time. Do I understand it? No, I do not. And I never will. And really, I don't need to. All I need to know is that Kristen is safe in Heaven with Jesus; that she is a happy little girl, reunited with her older sister Rachel; that one day we, too, will be with them in the Promised Land.

But for those of us here, it's tough. April 17th is a hard reminder of the pain and brokenness we experience here on earth. And my heart is soooo heavy for Taimi (Kristen's mom) and for Kristen's brother and her grandparents and her uncle & aunt. No one should have to experience this pain that they bear, the tears that they shed.

I am reminded of a book that I purchased a month after her passing. It's called, "Mommy, Please Don't Cry" by Linda DeYmaz. I want to share the words of that book with you today.

Mommy, Please Don't Cry
Tender Words for Broken Hearts
by Linda DeYmaz

Mommy, please don't cry...
A beautiful angel carried me here!
I met Jesus today, Mommy!
He cradled me in His big, strong arms.
He made me feel so happy inside.

Mommy, please don't cry...
Heaven is wonderful!
Did you know the streets are made of gold?
Real gold!
I have lots of friends, Mommy.
We run and play, we giggle and laugh.
I can't wait to show you my secret hideouts!

Mommy, please don't cry...
When I fall it doesn't hurt!
There are no tears in Heaven.
I've met a man named Noah.
He told me about his big boat,
all the animals, and the very first rainbow.
Have you heard of Noah, Mommy?

Mommy, please don't cry...
We have lots of parties here;
with streamers and hats,
and the best chocolate cake ever!
When it's time to rest, angels tuck us in.
I never get scared Mommy,
there is no darkness here!
Jesus is the Light of Heaven.

Mommy, please don't cry...
The angels are always singing.
I love to sing with the angels!
You'd be proud of me,
I have a pretty good voice.
I must have gotten it from you.
There is a river, Mommy, in the most
beautiful garden you could ever imagine...
and a huge tree with yummy fruit.
The angels call it the tree of Life.
Mommy, it's so wonderful to
be alive in Heaven!

Mommy, please don't cry...
Sometimes I just like to be by myself.
That's when I think of you.
Someday, Mommy, we will
hold each other tight!
Then you will cradle me in your arms,
and stroke my hair...
And once again, our hearts
will beat together.

Mommy, please don't cry...
I'll wait right here for you.

Rev. & Mrs. McCaw....
and countless others......
Someday, where the charming roses bloom forever, and separations come no more, we will meet you on that Beautiful Shore.

Kristen 1991 - 1999

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pushin' My Attitude Button!

We're spoiled!

Today's technology has just gone and downright spoiled us.

We have all these appliances and do-dads that are designed to make our lives easier. I mean, look at these computers. Technology at our fingertips. A whole world opens up to us at the single push of a button.


today it's the single push of SOMEONE ELSE'S computer button because my "technology" is having attitude.

Apparently there is nothing wrong with my wireless connection, according to my Internet Service Provider. And because of that very fact, they will NOT offer to help me sort out my internet connection problem any further.

They have pulled out their Pontius Pilate card and "washed their hands" of the situation. One technician from our internet provider was very kind and suggested a few things to try and see if I could get an internet connection. When I called back, after trying a few of his ideas, I was connected with a different support technician who was NOT, obviously, very "supportive" OR in his "happy place" that day. He basically barked about the problem not being at "their" end, and that I should contact the folks who manufactured our router. Thanks, chump.

I did not make this matter of calling the manufacturer a priority because I had a kazillion other things to do, and we still had internet connection with one of our other computers.... although it was slower than molasses in January.

Well, new problem arose. Jake was logging onto Facebook when all of a sudden the screen looked like one of those ink blots in a psychiatrist's office. "And what is the first thing you think of when you look at THIS ink blot? What does it remind you of?" Ummm, let's see, Doctor... it reminds me that...... I NOW DON'T HAVE A WORKING COMPUTER!!!

So, I'm guessing that the HP computer (that I NEVER cared for anyways), now has a dud screen. Not sure if screens can be replaced, but since I have no extra money to fix it (is there even such a thing as "extra money"?), we're back to using the other computer that has no connection besides dial-up.

And to be honest? I'm as annoyed as an ol' hornet. I just want to connect with my buds on Facebook and check my emails..... waiting for dial-up seems to take FOREVER, plus it ties up my phone line.

And it makes getting on the blogs sooooo difficult. So much information has to download on the page before I can even begin typing.

And THAT brings me to my point. I am NOT a patient person. I know technology can give me this stuff extremely quickly, yet because I am not computer savvy and able to figure out the problem, I must sit and wait... and wait.... and wait...... I am forced to do nothing but wait until the COMPUTER is ready for me to continue.

It's kind of like that feeling you have when you're late for an appointment, but the fellow driving in front of you is out on his "Sunday" drive, despite the fact that it's Wednesday, and you try to get around him but you can't because every time the yellow line in the middle of the road allows you to pass, there's an oncoming car, then once the car has passed, the yellow line turns solid and you can't pass... and ol' Gramps ain't gonna step on that accelerator one more millimeter.... he LIKES driving at 58 km/hr in an 80 km zone. Argh. Nothing I can do about it! I must "go with the flow".....

And that's how it is with this computer situation. Waiting... with no opportunity to get around it. I have to step back and talk myself into staying calm and not get worked up. I remind myself that I am fortunate to have a computer at all. I am fortunate that I have had hi-speed service (OK, let me explain that one...... hi-speed meaning "as high as they can possibly give me in this end of the little ol' County"....), and I am fortunate that I can take those times when waiting for the computer to load up, or waiting for Gramps to step on the accelerator, to pray not only for my patience but for others in need.... for those who are truly experiencing a whole lot more turmoil than waiting for a slow computer or Sunday driver.

So, again..... I press on. I keep on living to learn and learning to live. And I'm learning that no matter how long I live, the learning never stops.

I mean, after all, it's not in comfortable circumstances or situations that I am going to learn patience; I might as well get my head around that fact.

And once my head gets around it all, I think life, and even technology, might just be a tad bit easier to handle.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ow! Oooowwwww!!!


I don't like pain. It hurts me!

Monday night I returned to karate classes after a not-quite-three-year "sabbatical". Actually I was feeling quite brave and decided to tackle the kickboxing class before the karate class.

It was an intense evening.... I went in with a good attitude, knowing I'd be feeling pain the next day, but assured that, after a while, results will start showing.

I expected to feel a little stiff the next morning; but rather a full-blown migraine set in, accompanied with chills. I just couldn't get warm or get my head to stop throbbing. There were a few stiff muscles, but nothing too unbearable.

Wednesday morning I awoke to a pain-free head, but there was pain in my lower back and calf muscles, as well as pain in my stomach muscles. I shouldn't really use the word "pain" because, well, it wasn't unbearable, just extremely uncomfortable. It hurt. Every time I walked, or bent over, or stood up extremely straight, the boys would hear "Ow! Ow! Ow!". Jake kept saying I was faking it, but he forgets I'm an old woman now who hasn't seriously worked out in almost three years!

Wednesday night I decided to go to karate class to get the muscles loosened up. I had a wonderful class, and felt great afterwards. Still a little sore that night, and here we are at Friday and I'm still walking at times like a crippled-up ol' geezer, but.... here's the thing..... I KNOW the pain is going to subside over time. I KNOW this current pain I'm feeling is working for something good.... I'm going to feel better, I'm going to look better.

It is the same with the trials that we experience in our lives. The painful times can be excrutiating and sometimes feel unbearable while we're going through them. Those painful experiences hurt! They wear us down. They make us limp around for a while. We can't see an end to the pain.

I could not even BEGIN to start rhyming off the trials we've had over the last few years. Some of you are aware, some are not. Jon's health situation, his work situation, the "knife wounds" in his back, the situation with Blake's health (which will likely be a lifetime concern),...... numerous situations that you would just not believe......... (and no, I'm not going there so please don't ask, but I can assure you it would make for a very interesting movie!)..... Painful, extremely painful moments in our lives, which didn't just affect me and/or Jon but also our children, and will forever have an affect on us.

But, here's the thing.....

Those moments, those trials, those gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, pain-suffering, unbelievable experiences DID NOT break us in a negative way. Those moments hurt while we went through them, and truth be told, some of the memories of those moments still hurt and are painful to remember; but, we got through. We didn't stay in those moments.

The Lord has never promised us that we will not have trials. Look at good ol' Job in the Bible. He was a good guy, never hurt anybody, minded his own business, lived a good life and served the Lord whole-heartedly; but who on earth would ever want to experience what was forthcoming to him? Lost his children, lost his livestock, lost his home, lost his good health, lost his so-called friends, lost it all..... even his wife was giving him a hard time..... but, despite all of that, he remained faithful to God. And, just in case you don't know "the rest of the story", God blessed his faithfulness and poured blessings upon blessings upon blessings on him, restoring ALL, and in fact MORE, that had been lost.

Going through these last few years have shown me that it doesn't really matter what others "think" they know about us and our situation. We, to this day, are still putting some of the "puzzle pieces" together to get the full picture. But, it has shown me that my pride needed a little bit of 'shifting' by not worrying about what others think but rather letting go and letting God do His job in my life! It showed me that God will never let me escape His care and will always..... ALWAYS..... keep me sheltered under His wing.

I was broken in such a way that God was able to do some work. Now, don't get me wrong..... I'm still a "work in progress", but the trials have helped to put things into better perspective, get my priorities straight, and helped me to realize what and who are important.

Today in Bible Study someone made the comment that we are all at different stages in our lives, in our walks with God, and we need to be patient and not become easily frustrated, just as we don't want people becoming frustrated with us.

We also discussed the fact that what some people mean for our harm, God will use for our good, and that those who "dig a pit" for someone else to fall into will sooner or later end up falling into that pit themselves. (Check out the scoop on Haman in the Book of Esther in the Bible. He'll second THAT motion!)

When I mentioned to a young man at karate the other night about the sore muscles I was experiencing, he smiled and said, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger!". I chuckled, applying that statement not only to my sore muscles but also to my prior (and current) trials..... those times didn't kill me, they've made me stronger.

I always have been confused in the past when hearing people say they were thankful for their trials. How on earth can you be thankful for a trial? Now I know you can be thankful because it helps you grow. I'm understanding that now. God makes all things work for good to those who love Him...... even in our trials......

And this "pain" that I'm experiencing with my physical muscles is going to work for my good as well. This temporary affliction is gonna pay off in the long run. You just wait and see.

My "Ow!" will one day be a relief sigh of "Ahhhhhhhhhhh....." in karate AND in my trials of life. Now I can say, "Thank you, Lord, for my trials!".

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dear Abby, [a-hem] Hockey Momma....

Dear Abby Hockey Momma,
Here's one thing I need to know from you, Mamma hockey ... how do you handle it when your boys are receiving some of those tough checks and blows that they so often get in hockey? I played hockey for years, but now, as a Mom, I think I'm going to be totally freaked out when they reach the body contact age.

Dear New-Hockey-Mom Janna
Here are some helpful tips with regards to the "tough checks and blows" your children will receive in hockey:

1. Don't let them grow up. Keep them young and small forever. I tried this. It didn't work. I discovered that they kept growing because I kept feeding them. That was my mistake. All are towering over me now, as high as 6'1". Try limiting food to bread and water. Do not buy them larger clothes; make them wear the small clothing which may help to stunt their growth.

2. Keep them in House League hockey. There is no body contact in House League. This is the League that we have allowed our children to play in the past. If Jake were allowed to play contact hockey, I'm pretty sure he'd have killed someone by now. I'd currently be visiting him in prison, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't allow me in his cell to decorate it in some fresh Spring colours and patterns.

3. If playing Rep. hockey, let your children play the position of GOALTENDER. Every parent cringes when hearing their child say, "I wanna be the Goalie"; however, the "tough checks and blows" will never reach your child. NO ONE TOUCHES THE GOALIE. All team players instinctively protect their Goalie at ALL cost, just as mother bears protect their cubs. Players thrive on sacrificing time in the penalty box if it's in honour of protecting the Goalie. Only contact the Goalie receives is a "snowed face", which the Goalie usually likes because it's refreshing to him (and if you have good referees, they will throw the "snower" into the penalty box.... Bonus! Power Play for your team!). Part way into this year's season, Jared was called up to a Rep. team to fill a vacant Goalie position. Lots of equipment protecting him AND lots of players protecting him resulted in Momma feeling quite at ease whilst cheering very loudly in the stands... with her cup o' Timmies..... and her cowbell.

4. Don't worry, everyone knows children are made of rubber.

5. Let out a scream, then quickly cover your eyes.

6. Lots of PRAYER doesn't hurt, either.

I trust this small list of tips will be helpful in your venture into the world of children's hockey. Don't forget to wear longjohns, pack extra blankets and warm boots and gloves for arenas that have not yet figured out how to heat the stands with propane, take your cowbell or sealed can containing two pennies. Never yell at the refs, and above all else, remember your Tim Horton's card.

And as a final word, I've learned the last number of years that "what goes around comes around"...... now you know, Ms. Janna, how your poor Momma felt when YOU were on the ice! She can now be heard saying, "YES!!! There IS a God!!!" hahahaa

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Promise Is A Promise

She very politely "reminded" me that my blog posts have been pretty much non-existent lately. And she's quite right.

So, Mrs. Post, my very dear friend..... TA-DAHHHHHHHH!!!!! Here's my first post in 32 days!!!! Just for YOU!!!! because a PROMISE is a PROMISE!

March 2010 has probably been one of the most busiest months I have ever experienced! I will give more details over the next few days to update you on what's been happening with my boys and hubby with regards to their jobs and their schooling and their hockey (and their hockey, and their hockey, and their hockey......).

I seem to have been run through the wringer; however, oddly enough, I haven't seemed to have lost any weight in all the running around I've been doing. My intentions are to personally begin karate again (this week, Lord willing. Remember, Chris K., you're my official butt kicker!) which will help me lose weight and gain some muscle and generally feel better physically and mentally.

And could our dear Lord have given us any nicer weather this weekend? He completely has spoiled us with this beautiful Spring weather. The warm bright sun has been such a wonderful treat for us. I am thankful that, after church on Good Friday, we were able to just relax for the day. Jon was able to be home with us all day, and he returned to work today. He, unfortunately, will not be with us tomorrow for my family's Easter meal; however, rest assured he is "in his glory" in his truck. He's happier than he has been in a very long time. More details for you later, but here's a big Thank You to the Lord for His very watchful eye and tender hand on us through our trials over the last couple of years. God has blessed, blessed, blessed me so much.

Blake is spending the weekend in Boston, along with his cousin Sydney and friends Aaron & Jonathan, and will be visiting our friend Filipe (Hi Mora family!). They will be taking in a ball game and I believe he will also be working on some school assignments. One more month of college for him for this semester! His health is pretty good; not perfect, but pretty good. And our dear government supplied us with some very disappointing news. Again, I'll fill you in on all the details later.

Jake & Jared are right now fishing at Gull Pond with Jake's buddy, Cory, and one of our "adopted sons" Brad. Last time I was at Gull Pond was last year at this time when "adopted son" Justin was living with us. (Hi Dooley, we still miss you. Hope Alberta is being good to you!). Supper is in the oven, so I hope Jake & Jared are not too much longer.

I get to sit down tonight and hopefully enjoy a good game of hockey with the Maple Laughs, as my friend Chris P. calls them. But he's a Philly Flyer Fan, or maybe it's the New Jersey Devils.... I can't remember, so his opinion doesn't really count anyways. hahaha. I have been going through hockey withdrawal with Jake & Jared's hockey season finishing last week. Again, I'll fill in all the blanks on their hockey statuses later. Don't want to overwhelm you with too much information on one blog post. haha

I will leave you with a little blurb from my daily devotional calendar. For today it says:

Courage for the great sorrows of life,
and patience for the small ones,
and when you have laboriously
accomplished your daily task,
go to sleep in peace......
God is awake!
(Victor Hugo)

Thank you, Lord, that you watch over us constantly; you never slumber nor sleep. Thank you for loving us. Amen.

Happy Easter, dear friends. And thank you, Mrs. Post, for the "blog butt-kick".... I needed it!