Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Little Prince and the Lost Slipper

Once upon a time, well actually a short time ago, there was a little prince who embarked on a big adventure.

He went with his mommy, and his grandma on a big airplane, and his brothers and sister all wished they could go too.

And he was pretty excited to see his auntie, who was graduating at the big university in our province's capital.

Well, at least we thought he was excited, but he fell asleep on the plane.  Actually this was a good thing.

He wore his special slippers for the occasion.  They weren't glass or anything, but they meant a lot to his mom who had picked them out when she found out he was coming into this world.

And so when we were taking lots of pictures to celebrate the big event, we were all dismayed when... one slipper was missing.

We looked and looked, and retraced our steps, and even looked at some of the pictures we took... and we saw when he had both on...and then looked at some pictures where it was missing.  It was a big mystery.

And we looked and we looked some more, but we couldn't find the lost slipper.

But it wasn't until that evening, when the little prince was safely snug in his own bed after a long trip home, and his auntie looked closely at this picture....

It took me a while to locate it, but if you look closely... you will see it...

Of course, by this time it is night, but his auntie went and looked the next morning and found a very soggy slipper, floating in the pool by the fountain. Which she dutifully washed and dried...  We were so glad she found it!!

So the moral of this story is....

Well, there really isn't one... except maybe...

A picture is worth a thousand words... and can help you find things?


Memories are worth making, and how happy we were to share our day together.

With two sisters, one marking a very wonderful milestone, 
a happy baby and a blessed Grandma/mom.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Full Circle

This weekend June 17 and 19 mark two special dates for me; the 17th was the 3rd anniversary of my mother's death, and has especially been on my heart this week.

And of course the 19th, this Sunday is Father's Day.

I've blogged about Father's Day before, and I want to acknowledge it is not an easy day for many.  I think we have to say this, on both Mother's Day and Father's Day... it can be a day that evokes emotion, memories and for some it simply is not easy.

That being said, I wanted to say how grateful I have been, and have felt, for my loving upbringing.  No family life is perfect, and I think all of us who are parents would love a redo with the knowledge we gain over the years!  But I know I was loved and cared for and nurtured, all beautiful gifts I will be forever grateful for.

Mom wanted us girls to be nurses.  Our brother probably destined for the ministry.  It didn't quite turn out that way!  :-)

Of course mom was a wonderful nurse.  She loved caring for others, that was her passion.  And dad was the pastor, and she supported him in that role.

As a child I dreamed of becoming a missionary nurse.  Tropical lands like Haiti drew me, and I was influenced by some wonderful single missionary women who became part of our lives and we looked forward to their visits.  It was all quite romantic in my imagination.

But after struggling with math and science, I knew my destiny was not in nursing.  And it was not for my sisters either.  To our credit, and eventually our mother's delight, our eldest son is married to a wonderful nurse, and my youngest sister's daughter is almost finished her nursing degree... :-)

I learned early that my passion was to write... and to help people.  So it has been a fascinating journey for me to enter into this role of Chaplain, in my 50's.    A pastor role, someone like my father, working in a hospital, caring for people, as my mother would have!  Mom was delighted in this role I had entered into.

So on the day of my ordination, just four weeks ago, it was such a delight to have my dad there and be part of the prayer of ordination.  To have a father's blessing is a very precious thing, and I know there are many who have not experienced this.  Scriptures talk about fathers blessing their children and what a gift this can be.  To have dad there was very meaningful, and his prayer of blessing brought me to tears.  It was something I will never forget.

At the front of the church that day we also hung up one of mom's quilts - a beautiful quilt she had created with some of her quilting friends.  It was a quilt with a spiritual nature, with spiritual symbols.  And it became the backdrop on this special day for me.

So Happy Father's day to my Dad!!!  We are grateful he is doing so well, now in his 86th year.  And we miss mom and feel incredibly glad she was able to be part of our lives for her 80 years.

And as I work in the hospital, I am grateful for the spiritual legacy I have, part of a wonderful heritage of faith and service.

Here is Dad, Jake Friesen, on the afternoon of my Ordination, with my sister Cathy A.J. Hardy, who sang, myself and my sister Val who surprised me and came for this special day.  And in the background, the beautiful quilt of my mother's.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

When Prayer turns into Art turns into Prayer

My prayer life has been changing.

I find myself sitting with written prayers, often from the Scriptures.  And I am inspired to know that Jesus, whom I follow, prayed the prayers of the Psalms.  This was his prayer book.

And often, when I am inspired by what I read, and what I pray, I want to put that on to paper.  It is my form of devotion, of sitting with words, and having them sink into me.

This past week the words that inspired me were from Psalm 143.

The first step is to write the words, so that is what I did.  And I thought... How do I lift up my prayer?  And the image of hands lifted up came to me.  So I drew the hands.

And then I wanted to emphasize the hands... so I started doodling...

And in the process, I thought with amusement... these look like tattooed arms!!

Now, I am well aware that this might amuse some of you.  Some of you might not be so amused.  Some whom I love, love their tattoos.  And if you take the time to hear the stories, the art they portray usually tells a story that is meaningful.

I do prefer to draw on paper though... not on skin.  I once threatened to get a tattoo to amuse my children, but they knew I couldn't go through with it...

But the more I thought about the tattoos, I was impressed how our prayers and the holy words and instructions from God need to be on our skin, on our hearts.  They need to sink into us...

The words of the prophet Jeremiah say: "I will put my law (or my instructions) in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV)

And if you are really into writing it on your skin... hear this!!

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  (Some versions say written on your hearts).  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."  (Deuteronomy 6:6-8 NIV)

If I'm hearing this right, we might as well just write it on our foreheads!  I realize this is likely symbolic, but the word picture is very meaningful to me.  Do the words I believe, the thoughts I think, the prayers I pray, radiate from me?

The other word I kept hearing was "heart".  Written on our hearts.  So as I worked on my art piece,  I drew a heart.  It seemed appropriate.

So the art became the prayer.  Hear my prayer O Lord.  Teach me the way I should go.  Let your words be written on my heart, that I may know your love, and share your love with others.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Things That Make Me Happy

I've been thinking this week about simple things... things that really make me happy.

Life can be hard, and challenges come with most days.  But in the midst of it all... there is always something to make one smile.

So I wanted to create a list for me... and perhaps you'll be inspired as well.

What makes me Happy!:

A fresh strawberry, right out of my own little patch.  Nothing like it!

A sea of lavender, and a bouquet picked, brightens my day.

Yesterday, first fruits from the vegetables... and we had salad, our first... lettuce and radishes, and wonderful dill to go with the creamed sauce I made from fresh new potatoes from the store.  Fabulous!

It was a wonderful feeling to hold my newborn grandson... so many miles away.  To meet these little people in person makes me very happy.

And then a lovely phone call with two of my other grandchildren... having serious conversations about airplanes and Dog Patrol (if you are a grandma, you will understand), and these conversations bring me much happiness.

But it was also wonderful to hear those airplane wheels touch down on home soil... after six take-offs and landings... and some scary moments.  How happy I was to be home again, and give my hubby a great big hug.

Birds make me happy, their cheerful songs and playful fly-bys.  They brighten our world.

I came home to mail... sweet cards from friends... words of encouragement, affirmation... such sweetness.  This made me very happy... and inspires me to write those notes to others...!

Challenges will always be.  But I was inspired again to name the things that make me happy.  Too many to count...  What's on your list?