He’s Alive!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

HE IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

 

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My Baby is Thirty Today!

Laurelle newbornI was on Vancouver Island visiting my parents when I first suspected that I might be pregnant.  My husband was still in Calgary completing last-minute work assignments before he could start his two weeks of holidaying on the island with me.

I wasn’t morning sick but I wasn’t feeling myself.  We had been trying for years to have a baby but doctors were as baffled as we were why we hadn’t conceived.  It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions every month, only to be disappointed again and again.  At breakfast one morning, a couple of days before my husband arrived, I blurted out to my mother, “I think I’m pregnant.”

My mother asked me all the “motherly” questions and it was like she was ticking off a little checklist in her head.  “Yep,” she said.  “You’re pregnant.”

“What do I do now?”  I asked naively.  She just smiled, and shrugged her shoulders.  There were not enough “How to be a Parent” books written then or now for her to adequately answer that question.

The pregnancy was a roller-coaster ride with a scare in the second trimester when I started spotting and was hospitalized for a week.  Thankfully it was just a scare, but from then on I was monitored closely by my doctor.  “Little Freddie” as we affectionately called my baby bump, was growing nicely but a couple of weeks before my due date (March 26) my blood pressure started to soar.  The doctor, fearing more complications in the pregnancy decided to induce.  That led to my having five…count them…FIVE inductions, none of which succeeded.  I was on the maternity ward with women holding their babies in the rooms next to mine and yet my arms were empty.  The longing was there but with each medical procedure my hopes were raised for a few brief hours only to be shattered each time with disappointment.  I wondered if I would ever hold my baby.

Finally after the last procedure, I checked myself out of the hospital and went home.  I cried all the way home.

My brother’s birthday was the next day, so I decided to bake him a cake and we “celebrated” the best way we could without talking about the “elephant” in the room.  I really DID feel like an elephant to say the least!  My parents, who had arrived a week before the due date from Victoria, were exhausted.  My mother had planned to be there for the birth of the baby and to give me some much-needed help during the first couple of weeks of parenthood.  Instead, they now talked of heading home.  They had never intended to be in Calgary over a month!

In the middle of the night I felt an unusual flutter and woke my husband.  I wasn’t sure but I told him I thought I had felt a contraction.  It was certainly a different feeling than the medically induced contractions I had experienced over the past two weeks.  Charles broke land-speed records getting me to the hospital and after the nurses hooked me up to all the monitors the doctor on call said I was indeed “in labour”!  The excitement was overwhelming but as the night wore on and the baby did not progress, the doctor pulled my husband aside and gave him the news.  My baby was turned (a back labour) and was not progressing down the birth canal.  Applying forceps, which had me screaming in agony, was not a viable option.  He recommended an emergency C-section.  My husband just yelled at him, “So what are you doing talking to me?  Get it done!”

I remember being wheeled into the elevator, laying on my side.  My “business side” facing the door.  The operating room was four floors down and we stopped at each floor, even the lobby!  I just waved to the surprised, and embarrassed visitors as the doors opened and closed.  At that point I cared little about modesty.  At 10:03 a.m., on April 18, nearly three weeks after her due date, my daughter Laurelle was born, pink, perfect and weighing in at 8 lbs. 4 oz.  The doctor’s comment: “Yep.  She’s a little over-cooked all right!”  I did not see my daughter’s first breath, nor hear her first cry.  I had been anesthetized and it was my husband who followed the little cart carrying our daughter up to the Intensive Care Nursery Unit where she was monitored carefully.  It had been a traumatic birth…for both of us.

When I was finally wheeled up to my room to recover, they allowed me to get a quick cuddle there at the door of the ICNU.  I was groggy but as I held my beautiful daughter for the first time, counting her tiny fingers and perfect toes, I knew despite the ups and downs of my pregnancy I would experience it all again to be able to hold this precious child in my arms.  I was in love.

That was thirty years ago today.  My sweet daughter is married to a wonderful man, and they have given us two perfect grandbabies.  My daughter is a brilliant, young woman.  She is my daughter but now that she is older, our relationship has fostered into a friendship that transcends the typical mother-daughter one.  I confide in her and she in me.  I admire her, respect her and love her beyond words at times.  Sometimes I look at her and remember her as a baby, toddler, teen, and think how far she has grown up not only in stature but maturity.  She is a Proverbs 31 woman and I am proud to be her mother.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!  Love you.

Christmas Has Its Cradle, Easter Has Its Cross

One of my most favorite hymns is “Christmas Has It’s Cradle, Easter Has It’s Cross” by Rae E. Whitney.  Although probably sung most often at Christmas than at Easter, I think it is a hymn that is equally appropriate for both celebrations.  After all, the hymn’s lyrics link Christmas with Easter.  Without Christmas there would be no Easter.    The two most important celebrations in Christian history are inseparably linked together, all part of God’s perfect plan to redeem the world.

Christmas has its cradle, where a Baby cried; did the lantern’s shadow show him crucified?

Did he foresee darkly His life’s willing loss?

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its cross.

Christmas has its cradle; shepherds came to see, Little Son of Mary, Lamb of God to be 

Had His Father warned Him, none would grant Him room, save in the Christmas cradle and in the Easter tomb?

Christmas has its cradle, wise men came to bring, myrrh and gold and incense, offering for a King;

Myrrh alone stayed with Him, death’s balm for this Boy, from the Christmas cradle and to His Easter joy.

Christmas has its cradle, where that Baby cried; in the Easter garden, Christ lay, crucified;

When death’s power was conquered, God’s life through Him poured;

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its Lord!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:16-17

Resurrection Eggs

When my children were preschoolers we wanted to share the “Greatest Story Ever Told” with them but we wanted to do so in a way that would not frighten them.  Let’s face it, the last hours of our Saviour’s life were wrought with unimaginable pain and suffering.  Even as an adult I had a hard time watching the “Passion of the Christ” movie when it came out in theatres because of the graphic depiction of Jesus’ death on the Cross.  I knew the sensibilities of my children and I knew we needed to be sensitive to telling them the Truth while at the same time being mindful that they were still children with tendencies to have nightmares.  Still, the last week of Jesus’ life must be told and every child needs to hear it, so we used “Resurrection Eggs” to tell the Easter Story.

Some of you may or may not have heard of these. Believe it or not there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the eggs, (some think there is pagan symbolism associated with eggs).  I will not comment on the controversy, as parents you can do the research and make your own decision whether or not you choose to use this method or not.

For those of you who decide to use Resurrection Eggs, you should know there are store-bought Resurrection Eggs that are  available through LifeWay or can be ordered from any Christian bookstore, but we made our own using dollar store plastic eggs and filled them with items that we had around the house.  Again there are several “recipes” on how to fill the eggs, some use 18 eggs rather than the dozen to add more items and more scripture passages.  You can find these recipes online.

Here is our “recipe” for a dozen Resurrection Eggs.  We numbered each of the plastic eggs, filled them with the items listed below and then hid them around the house for the kids to “hunt” for.  When all the eggs were found we started with Egg# 1, opening it and then reading the scripture verse that went with the item and for each subsequent egg until we had read the entire Resurrection Story.

As the children got older of course we “put away childish things” (the eggs) and we read the entire Easter Story from the Bible and we have made it a tradition now to watch one of the many excellent movies on DVD that portray the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Every year I still put out the basket of Resurrection Eggs as I decorate the house for Easter and I will smile seeing my grandchildren opening each egg to take a peak inside knowing our family tradition will continue with them.

Egg#1Palm Branch (use a leaf).  Read Matthew 21:8-11.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem.  The people waved branches and shouted, “Hosanna!”

Egg #2Bottle of Perfume (use a perfume sample you can pick up at any cosmetic counter).  Read John 12:2-8.  Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.

Egg#3Piece of bread.  (use a crouton, they don’t get moldy).  Read Matthew 26:26-29.  Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.

Egg#43 dimes.  Read Matthew 26:14-15.  Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Egg#5A square of red fabric and/or make a small crown of thorns out of wire.  Read Matthew 27:28-30.  They stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on Him.

Egg#6A cross.  (you can get wooden crosses for necklaces at craft stores).  Read Matthew 27:31.  They lead Him away to crucify Him.

Egg#7A few nails.  Read Luke 23: 26-34.  Jesus is crucified.

Egg#8Dice.  Read Matthew 27:35.  When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots.

Egg#9A tiny bag of crushed rock.  Read Matthew 27: 50-51.  When Jesus died, there was a great earthquake.

Egg#10Some whole spices.  Read Luke 23:50-56.  Spices were used to prepare Jesus for burial.

Egg#11A small round rock.  Read Luke 24:1-5.  The stone covering Jesus’ tomb was rolled away.

Egg#12Leave this egg empty.  Read Luke 24:6-8.  He has risen just as He said!

JESUS IS ALIVE!!  GO AND TELL!!

25 Encouraging Scripture Verses for Easter

My daughter Carmen, made me a beautiful wall hanging for Christmas.  Spelling out the words “Amazing Grace” and shaped into a Cross with a red ribbon tying it all together, it has photobecome one of my most cherished décor items in my home.  Every time I look at it I am reminded how Jesus suffered and died on the Cross for my sins, the red ribbon symbolizing the blood He shed for me that day.  I am walking in the shadow of the Cross, the undeserving recipient of Amazing Grace.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me….”

Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

Isaiah 25:8 “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 26:19 “But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”

John 10:17-18 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Mark 9:9 “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Matthew 20:18-19 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Luke 23:26-43 “As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”   The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the King of the Jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”   Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Matthew 27:50-53 “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.”

Mark 16:1-8 “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb  and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

Luke 24: 1-12 “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”  Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

Philippians 3:10-12 “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

1 Peter 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

I Corinthians 6:14 “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.”

Romans 8:34 “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Romans 1:4-5 “…and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.”

Romans 6:8-11 “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

1 Peter 1:21 “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

1 Corinthians 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Acts 13:34-35 “God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. As God has said, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ So it is also stated elsewhere: “‘You will not let your holy one see decay.’”

1 John 2:25 “And this is what he promised us—eternal life.”

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

 

Shedding a few Pounds

I will confess, I am not a fan of diets.  Personally, I don’t think most of those “fad” diets work.  As my husband says time and time again, the only sure way to lose weight is to “eat less, 7293_fashion_cartoonand do more”.  He continues to be one of the wisest men I know!  That said, I’ve decided that I’ve got to try to shed a few pounds.  Now that I’m fifty-something, losing weight has more to do with health, than getting into a bikini.  I believe in miracles, sure…but me and bikinis – that ain’t never gonna happen :)  My kids are certainly breathing a sigh of relief!

The thing is, I’d just like to shed a few pounds so that I could get into SOME kind of a bathing suit…

I was digging through some old files the other day and came across a little article that describes the ordeal I face every summer…the quest for a new bathing suit.

“I have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known as buying a bathing costume.  When I was a child, the bathing costume for a woman with a mature figure was designed for a woman with a mature figure – boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered.  They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job.

Today’s stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure chipped from marble.  The mature woman has a choice – she can either front up at the maternity department and try on a floral costume with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney’s Fantasia- or she can wander around every run-of –the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer display of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have?  I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.  The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material.  The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks.  The reason for this is that any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped in horror – my bosom had disappeared!  Eventually I found one bosom cowering under my left armpit.  It took a while to find the other.  At last, I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups.  The mature woman is meant to wear her bosom spread across her chest like a speed bump.  I realigned by speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full-view assessment.  The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately, it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it.  The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides.  I looked like a lump of play-dough wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtains, “Oh, there you are!” she said, admiring the bathing suit.  I replied, “Yeah, that’s me all over!” and asked what else she had to show me.  I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral piece which gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serviette ring.  I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frill and came out looking like Tarzan’s Jane – pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.  I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.  I tried on a bright pink high-cut leg one and I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear it.

Finally I found a costume that fit…a two-piece affair with shorts-style bottom and a halter top.  It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly.  So, I bought it.  When I got home, I read the label which said, “Material may become transparent in water.”  I’m determined to wear it anyway.  I’ll just have to learn to do the breaststroke in the sand.”

Can any of you ladies relate to this story?

So THIS  summer, I’m bound and determined to shed a few pounds so I can get into a bathing suit that doesn’t have me look like a tube of toothpaste squeezed in the middle, or requires that I sit out in public under a “whale on the beach” sign.

I’ll keep you informed friends, how well I’m doing…

My To-Do List

imagesMV72JMI3It’s Monday.  Today I woke up with a long list of “to do’s” for the week.  I’ve got laundry piled up, a house that seriously needs some attending to; I’ve got bills to pay, groceries to shop for, a dog that needs to be taken to a groomers; we’re right in the middle of a bathroom reno, I’ve got lessons to plan for school, windows to wash, meals to plan and cook…  You get the idea!

And then our Pastor had the audacity on Sunday to add to my long list of “to do’s” by giving us “homework”.  (He’s really into practical application when he preaches his Sunday morning sermons.)  “Wake up every day for the next 40 days and live out Romans 12:1-2.”

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:1-2

For the next 40 days, before I even set my foot on the floor (after a restful night’s slumber), I am to offer my body as a living sacrifice etc. etc. etc.  Easy-peasy.

Or is it?

I woke up this morning, (after a mostly sleepless night) and immediately thought about all the things on my “to do” list and I loudly groaned.  Instead of jumping out of my bed excited by “being all I could be for God”, I was already lamenting how I would get everything on my to-do list done.  Best of intentions went scurrying right out the door, just like the dust bunnies under my bed.  Sadly, I realized that today when I woke up I thought more about getting my laundry done than saying “good morning” to my Savior.  It was more important for me to check my emails than check what God had to say to me in the scriptures.  I spent more time this morning talking to my dog than talking to God.

I haven’t even thought today about how I might bless another’s life this week.  I’m more concerned about getting my vacuuming done.  Ack!

So, I’ve modified my “to do” list.  I’m going to spend some time asking God to prioritize my week.  Chances are His priorities will differ greatly from mine and well…I’m okay with that!

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2:1-11 The Message)

Now if I could just stick with the plan for more than a week.  Forty days seems pretty daunting…*sigh*