Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strangers on a plane

I recently took a flight down to Ohio for my brother's wedding. I sat with my sister the whole way down, and she was there to hold my hand when we hit some turbulence just over Chicago (I now know why they call it the 'windy city').

I am not usually a nervous passenger on planes, but my stomach is prone to more than flip flops when we hit air pockets or strong winds. Cutting through storm clouds, although quite fascinating, is a test of my ability to clench my jaw and prevent my stomach contents from reversing their path.

Once we had soared above the clouds, it became smooth sailing, and I no longer needed the assurance of my sister's hand. My sister was grateful to have her hand back in order to accept the drink the stewardess was offering.

I was completely at ease as we checked in for our return flight...until I saw that my sister and I were not going to be seated together! Who was going to hold my hand????

My sister gave me some very good advice on how to breath through the anxiety and 'pretend' that I actually loved turbulence. Yeah. Not going to happen.

I decided that I'd just have to clench my hands together and pretend I was holding someone else's hand. I settled myself into the window seat that I had been assigned to, and proceeded to study the emergency landing procedures and feel under my seat for the life jacket that the booklet claimed was there. (it was!)

A business man placed his briefcase in the overhead compartment, then sat down next to me. We didn't say a word. Not even 'hello'. My reasoning was apparent (I was immersed in the emergency manual), his was just habit I'm sure.

We prepared for take-off. I prayed silently, all the while wringing my hands.

The plane was airborne. I braced myself for the clouds....evidently I didn't brace hard enough.

The plane pitched to one side, dropped a couple hundred meters, then pitched the other way to right itself. I was terrified! I lost my normal social etiquette skills, and grabbed the businessman's hand next to me. He hadn't even flinched through the whole ordeal, but my sudden panicked gesture shocked him beyond what the turbulence possibly could.

He turned to me, smiled, then gently said, "Just a little wind, nothing to be scared of."

I was mortified, embarrassed, and laughing all at once. Once the seat belt sign was turned off, I went to join my sister who had an empty seat next to her. I thanked the gentleman as I squeezed past him. I think he was relieved that he wouldn't see me for the landing.

Thank you for stangers on planes. Amen

Monday, April 27, 2009

This post does not exist.


You are not reading these words because I'm in denial. And, as we all know, until I recognize the issue (or issues), it does not exist in my life. So, this whole post does not exist because I'm going to talk about something that does not exist in my life.


Remember how I went off coffee creamers to see if it would have any effect on my waistline? And remember how I 'cheated'--but not really--and felt guilty all the same?

Well, I'm back on creamers. (I know! I was shocked too!)

The first week or so wasn't so bad. I was able to add just a 'dab' of cream and be satisfied. Then I tried a Cappuccino. With cream. was heavenly! Each day I needed just a smidgen more to satiate my desires. I told myself that it wasn't that bad, I mean, one little drop more couldn't hurt, right?

I became very comfortable (and generous) with my coffee cream. So much so that I now fill my mug 1/4 full with cream before the coffee goes in! (You can't be grossed out by this....after all, I didn't really say any of it because I'm still in denial)

I do believe I mentioned a few posts back that I don't stick with anything for more than about 2 weeks at a time, right? Therefore, none of this should come as a surprise to those who pay attention to my ramblings.

Anywho....what was I talking about? Oh, yeah! My jeans have shrunk again. I'm determined to write a complaint to the jean manufacturers about these faulty pieces of clothing! Stay tuned for my world-wide petition against shrinking material being used in women's jeans! It must be discrimination! It may take me some time to figure out the best wording for said petition......

In the meantime, I'm going to start playing soccer again to release some of these pent up (denial) feelings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Family Wedding

I attended my little brother's wedding in Ohio this week. It was such a special, intimate ceremony, and I was able to capture the pure joy and love with a few pictures.

My new sister in law, getting ready at the Church:

My little brother and his new Bride:

Cutting the cake:

The rings:

And here is the speech that I wrote out and surprised them both with:
David and Stephanie,

I have some Marriage advice from my children, but first I’d like to quote two verses of the Bible:

Matthew 18:3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

1 Corinthians 7:14 For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy.
Since my children could not be here today, I asked each of them to give some pointers about what they thought makes a marriage great. Here is what they shared:

Ethan’s Marriage advice:

To have a good Marriage you must believe in God. To have a great one, you need to ring the bell when you kiss at the altar. Be careful about how you dress, making sure it’s appropriate....because if you don’t you will look weird and embarrass your husband or wife. Make sure that your clothes match each other.
You should treat each other the way you would want to be treated. You should not divorce because God does not like divorce. You should talk to each other very lovingly.
When you argue, since Uncle David is a good arguer, you should be careful Auntie Stephanie.

Ethan also wanted to say a prayer for your wedding day:

Dear Lord, today you have found yet another matching Uncle David and my Auntie Stephanie. I love them very much, thank you lord. Lord I hope you bless them with kids. Amen.

Here is Alec’s Marriage advice:

Make sure you kiss every few hours.
When you argue, walk away instead of fighting.
Oh, and Good job on getting married!

And now some Words of wisdom from Annlise:

For Auntie Stephanie and Uncle David, I hope you have a good marriage!
Marriage means love, care, and happiness. You should be nice with each other when you are married because if your’re not, God will be sad. I think you will look beautiful on your wedding day, Auntie Stephanie.

Last, but not least, Kalyna’s marriage advice:

Don’t fight! Say sorry on Saturday. This was then followed by a ‘high five’, I guess she was quite proud of herself!

I then asked her two questions: What do you want to say to Auntie Stephanie on her wedding day? Kalyna answered, “I love you “

What do you want to say to Uncle David on his wedding day? And I quote: “Thank you for do the wedding.”

There’s not much more that I can add to this wonderful advice. I wish I had some of these instructions when Arnaud and I were starting off!
I have always known David to be caring and wise beyond his years. As he grows and matures, I see the effort he puts into each decision he makes. I am confident he spent the same time and care in choosing a good woman for his wife, as Stephanie has already been a blessing to him.
The biggest blessings in life come after the biggest hurdles. You both have overcome obstacles and unexpected trials to be together--and you will face many more as you grow together in love. I have no doubt that with God’s help, you will conquer the mountains and valleys you encounter in your new life together.

God Bless you both in your Marriage. Welcome to the family Stephanie!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fresh Air

It's been a very long winter. Literally and figuratively.

The prolonged cold snaps and late March snow storms made a season that is notoriously depressing....even worse.

But this post is not about winter. No, it's about the END of winter, and the beginning of a wonderful season called Flooding....err, I mean Spring.

The snow is almost completely melted now, and the ice jams on the river seem to be behaving, reducing the likelihood of us needing to gather the children and bare essentials in a panic and running for higher ground! Okay, we were never in any danger of that, but it sounds more interesting than saying the kids got all muddy in the puddles forming in our backyard, and I have tons of laundry to do.

I think the opening of windows and the freedom to head outside without 5 layers of clothing has put a spring in my steps and a song on my heart (I promise not to sing out loud....again).

I decided it was high time that I get out to do some walking with Kalyna. She seemed eager to jump into the backpack carrier (yes, at 3 years old, she still gets to ride on Mommy's back!), and join me for the hike--well, technically I live on the prairies, so 'hike' is not the right terminology....but it's my blog, so I'll write what sounds best.

Anyway, we set out for our first walk of the year. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and people were just really friendly. I enjoyed the smiles I met as people realized I had a child on my back, not just a backpack loaded with textbooks from the University.

Kalyna took in a deep breath, let out a huge sigh, then stated, "Ahhh....Fresh Air."


Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Will Eat Chocolate Today

It's inevitable. Although it's technically for the children, I always find reasons to join them in the beauty of chocolate-eating.

And I pay the price.

Today in Church we heard about the empty tomb. Christ was no longer held prisoner by death, but overcame the power of sin and death to free us from our own tombs. The Tombs that were sealed closed by the boulders in our lives that are too heavy for us to roll away.

I can remember a lesson Christ taught me shortly after my experience with the Holy Spirit. I had (for a long time) thought that God sent His only Son to earth so that He could relate better to His creation (us). I viewed Jesus' temptations and hardships as a 'reality' check for Him....a chance for God to know just how hard this earthly life really is. (wow, writing it out I can see how lost I was...)

It was when I took some time to focus on His sacrifice on the cross that my eyes were opened to the Truth of God's Love. He sent His Son for us to relate to Him, not the other way around. God didn't need to send Christ, He chose to send Him....and let us crucify Him....because He loved us, and we needed to learn how to love Him.

Jesus didn't need to move the stone away from His tomb when He rose from the Dead. He could have walked right through that rock, just as He did to enter the room where His disciples awaited Him. No, He chose to move that large stone for our benefit; so that we could be witness to the foundation of our faith--the risen Lord.

God continues to move the large stones in our lives in order for us to see Christ and His Good works. Today I am praising Him for opening my own tomb so that I may live in Him.

God Bless and Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

2 Years Old

Has it really been 2 years?

I marked your first birthday with a gift and card that I sent to your Mom. I wanted her to know that I was celebrating your birthday, and giving thanks for the love you brought into my life. Even though that love hurt deep initially, and brought your Mommy to her knees in sorrow....I can see the joy that your tiny footprints have left on her heart, and on the hearts of all who love you still.

I imagine that you are full of life and giggles in Heaven....much like your older sisters and brother are full of them here on earth. How they would love to hear your beautiful voice! For now only the angels and God Himself are blessed with your wonderful sounds, but one day we will all celebrate together.

Happy 2nd Birthday sweet Savannah_Grace. Your precious little life mattered to me. And still does. I pray that your family on earth will feel Peace and Joy as they are reminded of their special gift from Heaven who had to return too soon.

Love always,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Down on my knees

I just received news that Hannah is in heart failure.

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

Please say a prayer for little Hannah's family. I will continue to have faith that God will lay His healing hands upon Hannah, and she will have many years to sing His Praises.

Thank you Lord for preparing a way, a straight path, and a soft landing. Hold dear little Hannah close and command those heart cells to work properly.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week

So, this is Holy Week.

We celebrated Palm Sunday at Church, and danced around the pews with palm branches waving in the air. For those who don't know, this tradition mimics Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem about a week before he was crucified. The citizens of that city waved palm branches as they welcomed this Miracle worker into their city. While reading the New Testament passages about this event, it's almost unfathomable that less than a week later these same people would be yelling, "CRUCIFY HIM!"

How do you go from one day of adoration for someone, to the next wanting them dead?

That may seem incredulous to most of us initially, but if you were to put it into perspective, we can all relate.

We have all experienced rage and anger in our hearts towards others. Sometimes we feel justified -- "He betrayed me, I will never forgive him." Or, "That other child hurt my son/brother/nephew, they should be punished."

Sometimes it goes beyond tangible reasons, and we are consumed by anger and thoughts of revenge.

I can remember watching 'The Passion of Christ' movie when it first came out. I went to the theaters with my husband and some friends. There were so many scenes that moved me to tears.

Watching the story play out made the whole sacrifice seem so much more than words on a page. It brought the cruelty and suffering to life, and the reality of what Christ had done for me so much more valuable.

I can remember at one point feeling my blood begin to boil as I watched the hatred the citizens had for Jesus displayed. I kept thinking, "Don't you realize who He is??? He's not even fighting back, why would you want Him dead? If only you knew what I know today!"

And do you know what Christ did for me in that moment? He showed me where I would have been placed if I were present at that time. I wasn't one who stood up and defended Him. I wasn't one who wept at His feet.

No, I was one of the very people who kept yelling, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"

Those holes in His hands? I put those there with every sin I committed against God. It was for my sin that He died. It was for my salvation that He endured each wound. I am no better than the guards who fought over His robes and who didn't see the light until after Christ had died.

I was humbled. All these years of allowing my anger towards those whom I believed killed Christ ended the moment I realized I was one of them. And even being one of them, Jesus still died for me.

It was in that moment that my passion for living my life for Christ was reignited once again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Hannah is four years old, but cancer didn't seem to pay any attention to that.

At this moment, doctors in Eastern Canada are fighting to save her from a large tumor that went undetected since before she was born. It has now grown to the size of a basketball and is pressing on her Vena Cava (Largest vessel that supplies blood to the lower body), which caused her heart to stop twice Sunday night.

The surgery itself is risky. The prognosis is grim, even if she pulls through the operation.

These are desperate times for Hannah's family, and their turmoil is almost incomprehensible....but I am comforted by this thought: They know God is bigger than illness. He is bigger than cancer. He is the Mighty Physician.

I implore anyone who reads my blog to join me in this prayer today:

Dear Jesus,

You saw Hannah's unformed substance in her mother's womb. You pieced her together in wonder and beauty, and you have written all the days of her life in your book. It is by your great power that she is loved and cared for, and it is by your Will that she lives any of the days here on this earth. I petition you lord, with words and groans, to continue to bless her here on earth if that be in Your Will. If you call her home Lord, I pray that you surround her family with your far-reaching arms and hold them close. In this time of waiting, may they all feel Your presence and stand in awe of Your miraculous powers to heal and to make whole.

Thank you Lord for hearing all of our prayers. We praise you for your faithfulness and Love. Amen.

I spoke with Hannah's Mom, Shannon, yesterday for about 2.5 hours. She was still in shock, as Hannah had been a normal, happy little girl on Saturday.....dancing to her favorite music. The very next day, she is fighting for her life.

There are going to be tears, anger, fury and helpless moments in the coming days, weeks and months for this family. I am praying for a miracle, because I know that God is capable. I am reminded of the woman who kept pestering the judge who had refused to listen to her pleas over and over. She kept petitioning the judge, and finally he relented and granted her request, telling her it was because she never stopped asking.

Join me in lifting little Hannah up to the Lord, and placing her life willingly in His hands for healing.

God Bless.

*update* The surgeons were able to remove the whole tumour! Praise God! She is still in surgery, and they will be testing her lymph nodes to see what course of treatment may follow.

**2nd update: The tumour weighed a whopping 17 lbs!!! Poor little girl lost a third of her entire weight. She lost a kidney and part of her diaphragm, and one of her lungs was threatening to collapse, so she's sedated and on a ventilator until her body can heal. The lymph nodes tested negative for cancer, which is awesome news!!!

All of your prayers are still welcome. I Praise the Lord for the miraculous healing that has already occurred, and I look forward to updating with even greater news in the weeks to come!