Meandering

It has been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. Admittedly, I have really struggled with trying to write as often and as regularly as I would like. I could make up all kinds of excuses I suppose, but the fact is, I haven’t had much to really write about. In this season of Covid, I’m just trying to navigate this new normal.

My husband and I decided to take a road trip into the Kootenay region of British Columbia, trying to extend our holiday vibes for another week. It was wonderful to see new sights, and enjoy the warm weather. We knew we would be coming home to Southern Alberta and the possibility of frost and snow, so we languished on outside patios in B.C. and enjoyed the lake views for as long as possible. Sure enough, when we came home to the Ponderosa, I immediately turned my attention to moving my flower baskets indoors to avoid the killing frost expected. That’s the reality here in Alberta. We can go from temperatures close to 30 C. to below 0 overnight. Thankfully, the early cold snaps usually do not last long, so we can actually enjoy warmer weather within days of a frost or September snowfall.

These wild temperature fluctuations tend to mess with my head, and I wasn’t surprised when I battled a wicked headache for a couple days after returning from B.C. After a few days holed up inside, it was nice to venture out and about to do some grocery shopping. I reluctantly donned my mask and diligently followed the arrows to walk up and down the aisles. An hour in the store and I couldn’t wait to get to my car to remove my mask. I was actually starting to feel claustrophobic in a big box store!

We attended an indoor church service for the first time since March, before we left for B.C. Our church has taken all the precautions as regulated by Alberta Health to keep all congregants safe. Masks must be worn, no singing, no physical contact (handshakes, hugs). We must sign up for each service for contract tracing, we need to ensure we are healthy to attend; anyone with any signs of fever, cough, runny nose etc., are asked to stay at home. All the seats are spread out in the church auditorium to maintain physical distancing, and that means that there are fewer people allowed to attend the services. Sitting beside my husband, and looking around the sanctuary, I just felt so disconnected. Seeing all my church family again should have brought me such joy, instead I stared at their masked faces, and was adversely distracted by the distanced unfamiliarity I felt around me instead of the camaraderie and fellowship I once shared with them.

What has happened to us?

Fear has driven us to distance ourselves from one another. I see it every time I enter a store, or pass by someone on a sidewalk. We do our utmost to avoid contact. We are lepers without leprosy. With our masks on, it has become a visible statement that we are all “unclean” and we must avoid each other. I will admit that I am so saddened by this “new normal”.

Today, I remember nineteen years ago when the events on September 11th, 2001, changed our world drastically. I can’t help but think the events this year, will also force us to change. Along with the pandemic that has forced us to rethink health and safety protocols on a world-wide scale, there is a renewed call for social justice, being “Woke”, as they say, to the plight and privilege based on skin colour. Change is necessary, but at what cost?

So, my thoughts meander about.

Personally, I think coping and reacting appropriately to the world events of this year is discovering what God may be trying to teach me in these unprecedented times, and to consider and understand what I value most in life.

– I value my relationship with God. He is the Solid Foundation I have built my life upon. He will lead me through these challenging times.

– I value Family. The closest bonds I have are with my loved ones. Spending quality time with them is a priority.

– I value deep-rooted friendships. They stand the test of time!

– I value education. It means immersing myself in learning, and seeing life from all perspectives. It doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with everything or everyone, especially if viewpoints run contrary to my Christian world view, but rather, I hope it allows me the opportunity to share Christ in a caring compassionate way rather than sow further division.

– I value health and safety. This includes physical and mental health. I take time to count all the ways God has blessed me and to dwell on that rather than focus on negativity. (I value it, I haven’t said I’ve mastered it.)

These are just a few key things I value. I could list many more. I challenge you, my readers to make your own list of values, and think on those this week!

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Rest and Relaxation

We have spent the last week camping with family in the Kootenays in British Columbia. Last year I longed for that scheduled week away, but as you recall, I was in the throes of my cancer battle. This year, as I watched the sun rise over the lake, and listened to the crows squawking their “good mornings” around the campsite, my eyes glistened with joyful tears. I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father for allowing me this precious time.

I bowed my head, and allowed myself to just bask in the warmth of the sun, and let the sounds around me act as a hymn of praise. Nature’s worship band filling my senses. The campsite was awakening around me, but I was only aware of being enveloped in the Father’s Arms, a gentle reminder of how He brought me through such a challenge last year, and now I was reaping the benefits this year.

I have been counting my blessings this year. Despite COVID, 2020 has had more than its share of precious memories. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, and allow the world’s plight to discourage and depress, but after my cancer battle, everything needs to be put in proper perspective. Truly there is so much more to be experienced and appreciated this year, and I intend to live each day in that discovery mode.

I hear the voice of my oldest grandson call, “Grandma!” His sister is trailing after him as he runs across the campsite to plop into a camp chair beside me. My early birds, they are ready for the day’s activities of swimming, eating, and adventuring until the sun goes down. I don’t have their energy, but I give them my undivided attention as they list their morning plans. Their idea of “rest and relaxation” differs greatly from mine! Soon, they scurry off to the playground, and their laughter drowns out nature’s praise chorus. It’s okay. Theirs is a different song I listen to and thank God for.

My husband emerges from our trailer, sleepy-eyed and yawning. “Did I just hear the kids? They’re up early.” I smile. Soon, our children and grandchildren will gather at our site, wanting him to make pancakes, and he’s not quite ready to start his day yet.

We sit together in silence, holding hands. We luxuriate in a few minutes of peace together before the rest of our family arrives. All is well, and we are content.

Psalm 116 comes to mind. I read that beautiful Psalm countless times during my cancer battle, and now the words impact me with special relevance.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.Psalm 116:7

Amen.

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Wedding Prayers Answered

We have all been living in our post-wedding bubbles these past ten days. July 18th was a perfectly perfect day from start to finish. Our intimate gathering of seventeen celebrated Carmen and Jack’s nuptials with much laughter and joyous tears. My sweet husband wore his heart on his sleeve, succumbing to emotion several times during the day. I’ve only seen that emotion from him once before, fifteen years ago, when he walked Laurelle down the aisle. Laurelle and Carmen will always be their “Daddy’s Girls”. My girls would say I was more emotional at my son, Brett’s wedding five years ago, but truth be told, I cried an equal amount of joyous tears for each of them. Seeing them commit their lives to another, makes my heart happy. It is God answering my prayers as I cradled each child in my arms as infants and prayed for them to find their life partner.

I prayed for those two boys, Matt and Jack, who are now my son-in-laws, long before my girls met them. I prayed for them to love, honour, and respect my girls before they laid eyes on them. I prayed that they would be men of integrity, honesty, compassion, and be faithfully devoted to my girls. I prayed for them to be spiritual leaders in the home, to walk humbly before God, and to be trustworthy in all things. I prayed too that my girls would honour and respect their future husbands as well. That love would bear all things, and God would be the Cornerstone of their relationship. I believe God answered my prayers as He continues to teach them, and grow them into the men and women He wants them to be.

I prayed for my daughter-in-law too, as I rocked my son to sleep after an active day. His toddler sighs filling my senses with overwhelming love. I prayed his future wife would love him wholeheartedly. That she would love, honour and respect him, and be his greatest encourager throughout life. I prayed for a Proverbs 31 woman for my son, and God heard and answered that prayer when Chandler came into my boy’s life when they were in Junior High.

It blesses my mother’s heart to see my children happy, and settled with their individual spouses. I continue to pray everyday for each of them. I am blessed to welcome grandchildren into the family, the newest one, Everett, born to Brett and Chandler on July 17th, just in time for him to see his Auntie Carmen get married!

Chandler posted a video of her three boys the other day. I laugh every time I see it! It showcases the unique personalities of each of them so well. Newborn Everett, serene and peacefully asleep in a cradle out on their back deck. Then she zooms in on her firstborn, Pax, three years old, playing with a garden hose, calculating in his mind, no doubt, the capacity and time it will take to fill up his blow up pool with water. He is our explorer. Then there’s Atti, two years old, the nudist, backside to the camera, flinging wet clothes around with wild abandon!

It should not surprise you to know I am already praying for their future brides! 😁

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