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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.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A tribute to my Dad

Many know my dad - he gets around.  At 87, he is more active than most people his age.  He still plays tennis, loves table tennis, he bikes regularly and still drives everywhere.

And he loves to pick cherries!

This goes way back, he has always been fond of cherries, and picking them is the best part.  I remember a road trip he took with my son, he must have been around 10, and they drove to the Okanagan to pick cherries.  They created some memories; those two, that trip! 

 I remember when we picked cherries for 10 cents a pound... it was a great deal back then!  But I'm dating myself....

So last week he drove up - a five hour drive - with my sister, to visit and pick cherries.  He knew the orchard he was going to, he had made it a point to know the names of the owners.   And I think he was sad it took only 1/2 hour to pick the cherries we needed.  I think he could have picked for hours!

As we visited, it was good to catch up.  We always remember mom, now gone five years, and it is my sister now who helps dad process those cherries which he will enjoy over the winter.

Of course, dad is known for much more than cherries.  I realized this again just last week when I visited someone in hospital who remembered dad well in his role as a pastor.  They talked of him fondly and the good memories of visits over coffee and home-baking.

Dad is a social kind of guy and always had a wide group of people he stayed in touch with.  He is known for his pen and paper in his pocket, always jotting down names to remember, people with whom to connect. 

As we reminisced, he talked of all the sermons he had prepared and shared over the years.  He has catalogued over 2000! He was a loved Bible teacher too, and I often still hear of those who miss his Bible classes.  But then, he's still teaching, in the facility he calls his home.

He has always been meticulous about keeping track and remembering, and has written a diary of his activities since he was eighteen years old.  In his retirement years he started reading those diaries and often shared with us what year he was reading and what memories he recalled.  Quite amazing.

One of the most interesting tidbits I heard last week was all about cards.  If you have ever given dad a greeting card - a Christmas card or birthday card, he still has it.  Just so you know. 

He told us that each day he picks a Christmas card and another card and as he reads them, he thinks of the person who sent it.  He might be inspired to connect with them.  He believes that these cards are to be cherished because someone took the time to send them. 

We are grateful we still have our dad.  In 2011 he nearly died... twice.  It was a tough year, as he spent much time in the ICU and hospital.  But his life is still vibrant and he's planning for the future.  He's thinking of a cruise.  He has a list of people to see.  And my guess is that he'll be back next year, because those cherries will be ripe and waiting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The journey from frustration to gratefulness

Recently I posted this picture:

It's a great motto, a good goal, words to live by!

Sometimes it is a journey to get there when everything seems to be going wrong...

The printer has not been printing.
Important e-mails I sent were not received.
A book I wanted to download to review would not download.
The cake I lovingly made fell and was lop-sided...
and the ganache I made to cover it up did not set...
this just before I had 10 people (including ourselves) for a birthday dinner, oh yes, on this very day, our sink clogged. Royally.

We ate the cake anyway.  (My guests - dear family - were gracious)
The plumber is finally here.
The cut I received on my hand from hand-washing is minor.
I had enough paper plates to serve dinner.
I was able to get my printer to print.
The book finally downloaded after much trouble shooting.

All first world problems!!

So very minor compared to the heartache I have witnessed just this week, in my work as a chaplain at the hospital.

Our crazy lives can exhaust us however.  The things we own demand care and attention.  It takes time (and often money) to fix things.

Gratefulness is a journey at times, we don't always get there quickly.  I desire to choose it, to live a grateful life.

I am grateful for computers and printers and e-mails, and all the technology we depend on.  When they don't work, there is frustration, but I recognize the wonderful privilege we have to connect, to work, this is a gift I can too easily take for granted.  Hey, it's amazing I type these words and voila, they are on the world wide web! 

I'm so grateful for water!  This is such a privilege... we don't think about it often as we turn on our faucets and wash and clean and gather, and often don't think of waste.  The water runs down the drain, and we don't think twice about where that water goes.  This is a good lesson for me, one I need to reminded of again - that I need to be careful with water consumption.  Clean and accessible water is a gift and a privilege.

Lopsided cakes and chocolate remind me of luxury.  While I think of chocolate as one of the food groups, my grandparents saw it as something rare and precious - a treat indeed!  We are blessed with abundance, with variety and choices and delitable treats that are easily accessible. 

When I think of those in need, both those in my back yard and city, and those who live in impoverished countries, I am aware that I am wealthy, and indulged.  Does my awareness and gratefulness spur me to action?

Yes, it's been a challenging couple of days, but I'm getting there.  To gratefulness that is.  We are privileged indeed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mind Over Matter... or what WAS I Thinking?

My mind is an active place.  It feels like a processing plant some days, thinking, sorting, planning, evaluating, creating.

There have been studies about the differences between the male and female brains, and although I dislike to stereotype, I am fascinated how my hubby and I process differently.

I love the illustration that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti.  Yup, that's me, strands of thought everywhere, at anytime.  Where my hubby can focus on one thought and stay there, and we laugh that one of his "squares" in that waffle is a "nothing" box... it sounds quite restful to me!

I am grateful for the creative mind.  But as I age, I find that my mind is racing far ahead of my body.  And my body does not always cooperate with my mind!  :-)

Have you ever been frustrated with your body?  Oh, I know that I do not always like my shape, or my metabolism, and I must be reminded that God created me as I am, and accepting and loving that is as important as taking care of this vessel.

The body is a miraculous thing.... when we break something, our bones knit together as we heal.  Scrapes and bruises disappear into clean skin.  Renewal and healing happen daily, without our even noticing at times.  The body's ability to heal and restore is a miraculous thing.

Aging brings limitations.  And loss.  I often talk to patients in my work as a chaplain, and one of the most difficult things for people is when they lose their independence, or ability to do what they used to do.  It could be their eyesight, or their hearing, or mobility issues.  It could be chronic pain. When the mind is affected, that can be frightening indeed. 

Sometimes I say, "it is frustrating when our bodies don't do the things we want them to do", and there is always agreement.  We talk about how to come to peace about that, to accept the circumstances we find ourselves in, to do what we can to take care of ourselves, but ultimately to come to serenity.

Our minds are powerful however.  What we think can affect our bodies.  A positive attitude, a serene heart can affect our health! 

The word surrender came to me this morning.  I can trust the One who created me, who loves me.  I ask for wisdom to practice healthy self-care, as I seek to live well. 

I like to take that verse from Psalm 46 "Be Still and Know that I am God" and turn it into a prayer.  "Still my Mind, that I may know You", is a good prayer to pray.  Practicing stillness and trust are keys to serenity.

In the busyness of life, even in all the good things, our minds can be crowded places.  I am learning to practice stillness, to take a few minutes and just focus on God, or gaze quietly at the beautiful creation around us.

What are you thinking?  In all your day holds, I pray there will be time for rest... for your mind and for your body!