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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, October 29, 2016

There's a Spider in My House (and other Scary Tales)

I don't need
   to be scared.

I seem to manage
 without the chills
(and for some the thrills)
  that come this time of year.

Just this morning
A big black spider
  the size of a Truck
(we have a lot of toy trucks around here)
appeared out of
and attached itself
    on my ceiling.

Thankfully, my patient hubby
 rescued me
but I was shaken,
  none the less.

Why is it (on another subject)
  that my darling grandchildren
think it is the best game
  to SCARE me?
They become dinosaurs,
and ROAR!!!

I am flattened
  with apparent fright
which is greeted by
 uproarious laughter.

(Grandmothers ARE amusing, it seems).

There are many things
  that send a chill or shiver
Real things like
Politics for one,
   Germs this time of year
      Threats of violence
and our world doesn't feel safe at all.

I calm myself and remember the ancient words
"Be Not Afraid."

Good words for scary times.
Good words for every day!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Looking Up

It was one of those beautiful fall Saturdays, the sun shone blue, and many of the leaves on the trees hanging on, colouring the world around us.  

There are always many things calling my name, including garden clean up and laundry, but my hubby thought we shouldn't waste the beauty and suggested a ride in the country.  He is often right about things like that!  

So we went, enjoying the country side, pumpkin patches, trees in various stages of colour and loss, enjoying our conversation, and taking pictures.  We even took a little walk in our local cemetery where my mother is buried.  It is spectacular this time of year with huge trees towering over the grounds.

I've been thinking about beauty today, this gift of the Creator.

This, in the midst of weariness, for if you look for it, there is also heartache around.  I, for one, am election weary, and sense that many are stressed about many things happening in our world.

For many, that is the least of their worries, as they struggle through health challenges, deep grief and the troubles of life.

The seasons, and particularly the trees are good teachers on life.

My ponderings today:

The world is beautiful
This late in October day
And coloured trees dot my landscape

If I look down
rotting leaves abound
covering streets and allies
some mushed brown
sunk back into the earth.

I can choose where to look.

Can I turn off the screen
Shut off the noise
And drink in the beauty?

Can I look up into a canopy of leaves
drink in the beauty of the sky
take in ever-changing scenery
all around me?

At least it deserves equal time
really, much more
for it feeds a 
weary soul.  

This is the renewable
History marches by

but beauty remains
and the promise of
new seasons
springs hope within the heart.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Election Weariness

This is the year of the US Election.  In case you had not noticed.  :-)

Not particularly a topic I wanted to write on, however it has been very much on my mind.

On many minds, I think, judging from my Facebook feed, and the constant news updates we see on every channel.

We might be Canadian, but we are very affected by this US election.

I'm not going to spout my opinion or add more feed to tired minds, yet after we watched CNN yesterday for a bit, I could keep quiet no longer.

We first watched Trump give a speech in Florida, and then tuned in to hear Michelle Obama give her stirring speech.  We listened to Hillary Clinton as well.  I was especially surprised on how these speeches impacted deep emotions in me, and at one point I was moved to tears.

I think we in the North feel somewhat helpless, like we are watching a Soap Opera on the World stage gone terribly wrong.  And yesterday I felt violated as a woman, and wondered how many felt the same way...

Are we really helpless, I wondered?  And as I've been pondering about it all this week, some things came to mind....

As a Christ-follower, I often think.... how do I live?  I know Christ encouraged us to pray for our leaders, our governments... so I am compelled again to pray, to pray for wisdom, for discernment, for those making decisions in the countries in which we live, wisdom for those who vote.

Christ also called us to LOVE.  It is the part of the greatest commandment.  One of the aspects that appalls me is how divisive this US election is... Christians turning against Christians, and I sometimes wonder... where is the respect, the honour, the love that we should be known by?

We are also called to care for all:  the poor, the sick, the foreigner....  With Christ there is no respecter of persons.  We are all loved equally.  How do I live my life where I stand up for those who are bullied?  Is there a right time to speak out, to champion values that care for those who feel trampled on?

That being said, I believe we are also called to Peace.  Peace seems unattainable some days, but I love that verse in scripture which says: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18)

No, I was not going to write on this topic. My thoughts are few.  I am weary of it all.   But there needs to be voices that call for love, for justice, for peace, for compassion.  As much as we are able.  And I will continue to pray... for those who lead here in Canada, and for our neighbours in the USA and all over the world.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Giving Thanks - and missing those we love

Another Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, and as we were walking today, we noted it felt like Thanksgiving today... the air crisp, the hills alive with colour, the lake muted and chilled in the distance.

We just had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend together with my extended family here in Vernon.  One of the most poignant moments was gathering at the graveside of my mother, who has been gone just over three years.

How I miss her at times like these, because she was the ultimate hostess, and knew how to prepare for a family gathering.  She was a true matriarch, and the empty space at the table was felt.  We also missed my nephew Chris, and others who have gone before us, including my first husband, and the memories of grandparents and other loved ones linger at times like these.

Grief was fresh this past week, as we gathered with my Uncle John to honour and remember his sweet wife, and grieve with their children.   I was also impacted by another loss this week, a sweet mother who I had the privilege of knowing, slipped away to heaven just before Thanksgiving.

Life is brief, and fragile, and it is these times of gathering that the missing can feel even more intense, even as the memories are often sweet.

I couldn't sleep one night this week, with these thoughts on my mind, and I wrote this especially for those grief is new and deep.

Her Presence

The walls echo loneliness
Dense with memories
Her presence
So vital
Filled these spaces.

Living in the void
Yes, living
Can be the hardest
Task of all.

She coloured her world
with grace
The fabric of all
she left behind
is a constant reminder
she was here.

And the space
she filled
so empty

Yet filled with
gifts she shared
Great love
courage, spunk
faithfulness and faith

in a tomorrow
where we will be
Once again.

<3 Grace. 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Comforting Words from Psalm 23 - 3 P's to remember

Recently I had the privilege to lead three memorial services in one week.

Two were in the community, and one was a memorial service for residents at a care facility attached to the hospital where I work as a chaplain.

I've long been drawn to Psalm 23 as a source of comfort in these times.  It is often used at memorials, often printed on memorial cards.

The words are life-giving, familiar, and comforting.  I also read them often at bedsides, and the familiar words ring with comfort to those who are dying, to the families who love them.

As I prepared for these services, two words came to mind, and so I spoke of them.

The first was the word PROVISION, which is quite appropriate as we enter into this week of thanksgiving in Canada.  We are thankful for God's provision.  The verses are clear... we shall not want, for we are provided for.

We are led by quiet waters, there is a place for rest, there is refreshment for our souls, we are guided.  There is a table prepared for us, even in the presence of enemies.  This speaks of provision through all of life... the peaceful times, and the challenging.

The second word that came to me was PRESENCE.  The verse I cling to is verse four, where the psalmist says: "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

I never cease to be in awe that the Creator is like a Shepherd, and he wants my company!  He is present with us.  This is comfort.  And as sheep need a shepherd, God wants to fill that need.  In a shepherd's world, the rod and staff are tools of protection and guidance.

Which brings me to a third word, which I have to credit my Uncle John with.  He is in my heart this week, because his beloved wife, our Aunt Lenora has gone to heaven after a very short battle with cancer.  We grieve with him and their family!

He and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about this Psalm.  He is a pastor, and had preached a sermon on Psalm 23 the day before we talked.  And he shared with me a P word I had not thought of... it is PROTECTION.

For those in the midst of grief, this could be a conundrum.  And yet, I believe it to be true.  We are not promised a world without trouble or pain.  Jesus himself said "In this world you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world."  

Knowing we are loved deeply by the One who created us, who carries us as we allow it, who is Presence in this life, this is protection from evil as we also prepare for the life to come.  We who are tethered to this earth can scarcely imagine it, but when a loved one slips away we think about heaven.

We think about being free from pain, of deep joy, of sweet communion with our loved ones.  We think about God, and some envision God as a loving Heavenly Father, calling us home.  Or Jesus as the tender Shepherd, carrying us.

So, three simple words:  Provision, Protection and Presence.  This has brought me much comfort in the last few weeks, and I believe has helped to bring comfort to those who grieve.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley 

of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me 

in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall 

follow me all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord