The Lost Earring

In a hurry to get changed to head out the door for what seemed like the 10th time that day, I realized quickly my fashion for the day excluded one small dangly jewel, gifted to me by my one and only the previous Christmas.

I was in the habit of wearing the complete set, so I panicked in that moment as I grabbed my now earingless ear, much to my dismay.

Where would I even begin to look as I didn’t know how long it had been missing. Years earlier, the situation would have kept me in panic mode for a whole lot longer than I would have liked. My anxiety taking over and keeping me from moving through my day or even days.

But not today. Yes I was sad in the moment at the concept of my incomplete set of the special gift from my sweetheart, but life had dealt some bigger blows the past 3 years with the passing of my parents, changed relationships and the healing that had surrounded all of that. It had been the hardest 3 years of my life despite the struggles I had experienced most of my many many years prior to these past years.

But there was a difference now. I was ready. Ready to heal. I had become a student. I allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me… heal me. It was hard.

It was very hard. It was a very new season in uncharted territory.

I still wanted it my way at times.

I listened more than I ever had to the Holy Spirit. My self reliance could not solve this major season in my life. But oh had I tried. I was not perfect, but I was willing to have my ears and eyes opened.

This was the key to a “door” I had not opened fully before. His answer to me when I would hear and see more clearly was,

Let go..

REST in Me.

I’ve got this. Give it to ME.

I have work to do… STOP getting in the way.

That last part seemed harsh from my God, but it changed the following years of my life, and still is an ongoing journey. And today, encountering the loss of this precious earring which would have immobilized me years prior, left me with an attitude of “letting it go” in this moment, and “giving it up” to God.

“God, you know where my lost earring is. I don’t want to stress about it. You know how much this gift means to me.”

and with that… I went about my day.

Three days later, after not having thought about the lost earring, I was adding some food to my China girls food dish in the back corner of the dining room when my eye caught the glint of something sparkly on the floor just passed the dog dish.

And there it was! In the most unlikely place I would have looked!

“Thank you Jesus” where the first words I uttered with an easy smile accompanying my words.

My God is in the little things as well as the biggest things. I had trusted Him with the biggest things in my life over the years, why not this lost earring?

Sometimes, God wants us to trust Him in the little things to show us He is trustworthy in the bigger things.

Leave it to Him… REST…. go about your day…. He loves us THAT much.

And that is just the beginning.

I learned a lesson that day. I realized how my life had changed in the way I had responded to even the smallest of things, by walking through the biggest of things with my God.

Today, no matter what you are going through…. the biggest things or the smallest things, know that God wants you to trust Him as much in the smallest of things as the biggest of things.

He cared about my lost earring.

He cares about YOUR “lost earring..”

He Loves Us …THAT Much

Little pudgy fingers grasped the now half frozen treat clumsily, as much stickiness enveloped her eager little hands. Some of the coveted treat slid haphazardly down one side of her little soft chin. Not all made it “home” between her pink little lips, But oh did she try.

My little girl was lost in her own little world, making sure she would get the most of this special treat her papa had blessed her with on aaa hot summer afternoon.

My mama heart welled up as I took in this beautiful picture of a little blonde haired, blue eyed girl, enjoying a treat from her papa to the fullest. She didn’t seem to mind that not all of the delectable treat hadn’t made it into her sweet little mouth. She enjoyed what she got out of it.

When no more of the delicious treat was to be had, she was off to swing and laugh and play with no further thoughts on how the eating of this treat had transpired. No guilt. Just pure enjoyment.

How may we try to devour all that is good in the Word, and in the process have some wisdom and revelation go by the wayside, perhaps ” sliding off our chin, landing on the floor only to be enjoyed by some busy summertime ants”.

I could just imagine our Heavenly Father’s heart welling up with MUCH joy as He watches us, sometimes clumsily devour His Word, only to miss some nuggets of knowledge He wants to open our eyes and hearts to.

I would imagine His joy would be no less than this earthly mama watching the attempt at her little girl devouring her delectable treat.

I believe He wants us to come boldly into His presence, as He says in His Word, as His children. NO fear… just COME as we are… like this little girl.

My heart smiled wide as I watched with much delight, as my little granddaughter wrapped her tiny pink three-year-old tongue clumsily around the half broken chocolate covered ice cream, perched clumsily on the ice cream stick.

NO guilt.

His smile is wider… His love is greater… His heart…. BIGGER than any other.

We may want to shrink back from reading His Word because we may not be doing it exactly right. His love overshadows our imperfections. The JOY He has at our imperfect attempts is infinitely more than any earthly mama can have.

Find HOPE in His Word. Let NOTHING stop you from enjoying the nuggets in God’s Word. Nuggets of wisdom and direction that do end up being planted in your heart as you just begin…

Our God knows our heart.

As time goes by, your ability to receive the wisdom and direction from God grows, as you get to know Him more intimately.

He loves us SO incredibly much.

He says so in His Word… His letters to us.

BELIEVE it…. ENJOY it….. EXPERIENCE it. He is forever waiting… watching…with SO much love at our attempts at digesting the nuggets in His Word.

Have NO fear. Come BOLDLY. Find HOPE… find JOY….find PEACE. Just freely indulge in His Word … because….

He loves us… THAT much❤

Be A Catalyst of Hope In The Moment

The summertime birds chirped cheerfully as I rode my not so new bike through the neighborhood on a beautiful warm summers day.

As I rode through the quaint streets of my small town, enjoying the fullness of of the summertime greenery of the mature trees along my chosen route, my gaze turned to an elderly man strolling aimlessly it seemed on the sidewalk.

We greeted each other with a short nod. As I was about to ride by, the man tilted his brimmed foreign looking hat towards me and  asked if I knew German… in German. I said I understood it well, but to speak it was not very eloquent to say the least. I asked if he knew any English. He  responded with a shake of his head and a short questioning shrug of his shoulders.

Knowing this, the likelyhood of our meeting lasting past the quaint nod and smile seemed unlikely at the moment.

Not so it seemed as my inadequate attempt at a language I had been surrounded with all my life seemed to be adequate in this moment… It didn’t seem to deter him at all.

And so the “magic” began.

The older gentleman listened with much grace.  A small grin sat happily on a face that had seen many generations as he listened. He then proceeded to tell me of his homeland in the most beautiful fluent language I had been so familiar with all of my life.

As the story went, he had only arrived four short months earlier.

As I stood  listening to this gentleman’s story, half perched on my bike, I could see his face begin to relax more and more the deeper into his story he got with a fluent German that rolled smoothly and rhythmically off his tongue . It seemed to be a comfort to him to speak in his own familiar tongue to a stranger he just met in a foreign country. 

Listening to this elderly gentleman brought back memories of years gone by of beautiful family gatherings at my grandparent’s home on their farm that always seemed so magical. Nothing but German… and for a few moments, I was  transported back in time to that beautiful season in my life again.

What a beautiful moment.

As our chance meeting came to a close, or was it chance?… We bid each other a fond farewell and  went our own opposite ways, A “fond farewell” as we had now become a little less strangers than when we had met such a short while ago. All because of a meeting “in the moment”.

Unknown to this gentleman, he had  given me the gift of warm remembrance of a time and place that had been delicately tucked away deep in my heart. 

In his own need to connect, he accomplished a smile in someone else’s heart effortlessly.

This side of Heaven, we may never know how these in the moment encounters will affect someone or ourselves for that matter. It may very well happen when someone needs it the most.

So why not take a chance?… sieze the moment… be IN the moment. For you never know when we can bring hope to someone who may be carrying a heavy heart.

Willingness to connect and step out of his comfort zone in a foreign country impacted my life by him just opening his mouth and wanting to connect in a foreign land.

We both came out winners that day as we both allowed ourselves to be catalysts of hope… one from a foreign land needing connection, and one being  transported back to a familiar land of heartfelt remembrance.

All because two people chose to be catalysts of hope…

“In the moment.”

I’ll See The Lights…

Crouching low as to not bump our heads on the low ceiling of the bunk in the 1970s family motorhome my little sister and I made ourselves as comfortable as could be in the small space. The Monopoly board, paper money, houses, hotels, and move tokens took up most of the leftover space. It was one of our favorite things to do on our many summer family trips.

A long narrow window out the front gave opportunity for the best panoramic views where we were headed day or night. My views consisted of the majestic mountains in the British Columbia interior to the water’s edge of Newfoundland over the years.

On this particular trip my dad pointed the motorhome south across the border to California. Spectacular cities and country views by day…KOA campground signs and mostly deserted roads by the dark of the night.

This particular night long after dark, searching for the KOA campgrounds, the rolling hills of Salt Lake City came into view. Perched on the top bunk now tucked in with cozy blankets and pillows matching the 70s brown and gold decor, the motorhome crawled up a particularly long hill. Only the headlights lit the highway in the wee hours of the morning.

As my eyes grew tired and mesmerized by the continuous passing of the yellow dividing lines on the highway, I started nodding off.

Suddenly something bright forced my tired eyes to open a bit. My eyes then opened wide as what appeared woke my mind wide. Cresting the hill, a sea of lights shone as a million white diamonds as far as the eye could see.

I gasped slightly as I caught my breath at the sight. My eyes were wide open now not wanting to miss any of this view that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. There was a comfort in the cast glow of the city, even then in my 12 year old mind.

The darkness seemed to all but disappear as the city lights seemed to envelope us all.

As I think back on this memory, it reminds me of the first time I heard the Gaither gospel song “Because He Lives”. One particular line in the song has stood out in my heart ever since and it goes as follows:

“I’ll see the lights of Glory… and…I’ll KNOW He lives!“.

There may be times we will have to travel through life in the dark of the night after the joys of daylight with only the dividing lines and a few signs illuminated. But knowing that the final crest someday will open wide the windows of all the lights of Glory that will leave your eyes wide in awe and your heart breathless, will make this trip worth all you or I will experience.

And…

you’ll know… that you know… that you know…

He lives!♥️♥️

The Unlikely Teacher

Her soft, salt and pepper mixed schnauzer fur ruffled easily through my familiar fingers as I caressed her snuggled body lying in her favorite chair.

Her favorite blanket snuggled her small 15 year old body as I had placed it, hoping to let her know my heart. Time wasn’t on her side as Birthday number 15 had come and gone… But my heart just wanted a little more time…

Congratulations on the addition to your family!” announced the kennel owner as she poured the tiny squirming puppy into our arms, now 15 years ago.

I remember thinking, “Really lady? I think that’s maybe going a little too far? Yet I appreciated the sentiment.

Now 15 years later, our sweet girl has been all of that… and more.

Having had children and grandchildren I know the difference, “but one of the family” she has most certainly been, and still is… she’s still here.

For how long, I don’t know, but as a single tear snuck down my cheek, I realized I didn’t want to face another loss…. not now.

The past few years had been filled with different kinds of losses, including saying bye to my mom and dad as they left this Earth just 2 years apart… both too young…both too soon.

My mom had never been a fan of dogs. In fact, quite fearful, but she made friends with our China girl the last years before she passed away. Against everything she had ever been taught in her generation, she welcomed our little girl’s wet nose touching her gently on her knee under our family table at many a family gathering.

Mom would hold a small morsel of goodness between her petite fingers and quietly gave the OK for the quick nibble. Mom would always exclaimed how gentle our little girl would gingerly pick the morsel from her fingers, followed by, “You’re a good girl!”

It gave me joy to watch this exchange on many family occasion. It showed a different side of my mom, and it revealed to me how a little furry being and her tenderness could chase a lifetime of fears away in a moment.

Walks with my dad in the last years, him in his wheelchair, were dotted with moments of China leading the way as my dad held her leash, also revealing a different side of my dad post stroke….one I hadn’t known before.

Our little China girl had played a starring role in many pieces of are family’s lives in the past 15 years and counting.

So no… she is not JUST a dog to me.

My 4 daughters and and grandchildren have all experiences with her in their everyday lives over the years.

15 years of walks, playgrounds, bed snuggles, camping weeks, bike rides playing fetch till our arms were exhausted, car rides, ice creams and timbits, And wet kisses to go around as the family spilled into the door on the weekends. Her little wagging tail spoke volumes as she greeted each one.

And of course she was my sidekick for all these 15 years. Soft gentle licks when I was sad, soft gentle licks when I was happy. Greetings at the door…. every single time…. no judgment.

I share this story because I dare say I believe God created these furry friends to connect us in many ways…heal… teach.

For those of us who are fur baby lovers, I believe it’s brings our God much joy when his creations warm our hearts and knit us together with memories.

My little girl is a blessing to me and saying goodbye someday is not a thought I want to entertain just yet. but when that time comes, the memories that have knitted us together, have painted a beautiful picture.

A little 10 pound dog, conquered a lifelong fear in my mom. She was… she is… a loyal friend, and companion to our kids and grandkids. But most of all, I believe she is a Heaven sent, non judgmental being sent to teach us what that could look like.

As I finished this story, my little girl lifted her head and stared at me as if to say “What’s all the fuss about? And what’s with the tear?… I’m still here….”

She’s still here❤

So for now, I will enjoy her to the fullest in her golden years, and reflect on the wonderful moments she has connected for us, helped heal us… now in her golden years…

Our God-given…

unlikely teacher.

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” (1885) Hymn

My young hands held the navy blue church hymnal firmly on the corners that had heard many a voice sing across its pages over the years in the hard pews of my small country church as I was growing up. The pages smelled of a touch of mustiness …all part of the memory.

I loved singing. I had sung since the tender age of 4. The words of the decades old hymn seemed to flow effortlessly from my lips…

My young body sunk softly into my grandma’s seventies couch as I proceeded to sing my own concert to nobody else but grandma’s beautifully blooming Christmas cactus, centered in the front of the living room picture window, and shelves of black-and-white framed photos of generations past, listening in respectful silence.

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”

Sung with the innocence of my age, I didn’t know then how much these words would come to mean to me in the coming 5 decades in different seasons of my life journey. What a friend He truly became as the mountain tops gave way to valleys through the seasons.

Fast forward 30 years.

I gently held one corner of the navy blue church hymnal with my dad, dressed in his Sunday best, firmly holding the other side.

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear...”

My soprano voice blended effortlessly with my dad’s beautiful bass voice as we stood together, side-by-side, bringing the gift of song to my grandparents, my dad’s parents, on their 60th wedding anniversary. They too will have experienced the words of this song as they had journeyed many seasons together raising 6 children, and loving on many grandchildren and great grandchildren over the decades.The suttle glistening in both my grandparents eyes said it all…

What a privilege to carry everything to God and prayer.”

Fast forward a few more years… sitting low beside my grandpa’s contented face as he lay feebly on the temporary bed made up for him, where life was coming quickly to a close for his life’s journey in the living room of the home, he and the love of his life, grandma, had shared for 60 plus years. His pure white,stiff, bristly hair, stood at attention as I had always remembered it as a child growing up.

It was a familar comfort even now when life was ebbing quickly for my grandpa.

Now in my late thirties, having a young family of my own, I quietly and gently sang the words of the familiar hymn once again…

What a friend we have in Jesus

My voice trailed off as his tired eyes drooped heavily, but in a moment, my grandpa gifted me with a heartfeld “Thank you!“in his low familiar voice I had heard for so many years of my life…

My grandpa peacefully left for Heaven just days later, but I was so comforted to know he had the comfort of his Jesus… what a friend.

Fast forward 20 more years; my dad, now laying in his bed most days, having had to say goodbye to his sweetheart of 53 years 2 years by now, left to face life with a debilitating stroke that accompanied him for over 13 years.

What’s song would you like me to sing dad?”… was a question I asked often as we spent time together in the evenings after the home care had left. My dad’s verberating bass voice answered as he stared at the ceiling, laying on his back, ready for bed, all tuck in by those who cared for him round the clock…

What a friend we have in Jesus!…”

Now it was my turn to have glistening eyes as the days of our duo singing were over, as the stroke had stolen a part of his singing voice among many other things.

Yet I knew as I sang the old familiar hymn with a lump in my throat, that my dad was singing along in his spirit as I saw the glisten, now in his eyes as the words that had comforted 3 generations over the years through many valleys, spilled out of my now quivering lips.

Life had been hard for my dad the past 13 years dependent on so many others …

What a friend we have in Jesus….

My dad met his friend Jesus the next night… face-to-face… It had come full circle as I now needed the words of that beautiful hymn as I said goodbye to my beautiful dad.

This one line of this beloved 18th century hymn had stood the test of time for 3 generations… and can continue to do so for many more generations I believe…

What a friend we have in Jesus….”

At Any Moment

My 13 year old teenage mind sat restless as Sunday evening church seemed to drag on.

My mind was dreaming of other things I could be doing in my teenage world this evening. I glanced over to the next dark hardwood bench where a few of my teen school friends sat in their casual evening Sunday dress, seemingly daydreaming of teenage things as well.

I reluctantly took a corner of the traditional blue hymnal as my mom beckoned me to the congregational singing with her. My reluctance became less as the words and the melody of the old familiar hymn rolled off my tongue… “When The Roll is Called Up Yonder” I had always loved to sing, even as a little child, settling in on my grandma’s blue 60s sofa with her own personal copy of our church hymnal.

The beautiful sounds of  harmony streaming from all corners of the small country church rushed over me… and I smiled. It was home to my heart.

It was time for the message. The preacher slowly climbed the wooden steps to the center pulpit. The Elderly white haired preacher with his well worn black King James Bible tucked securely to his chest, took his spot at the wooden pulpit where he had stood many a time over the past 50 plus years.

I glanced at the hands on my petite black coveted wrist watch I had gotten the previous Christmas from my mom and dad. I settled in to make the best of it. I was going nowhere as my mom and dad flanked either side of me on the hard bench, listening intently to the words of the preacher now booming through the small congregation gathered this Sunday evening.

Suddenly, I was jolted out of my far away thoughts. as my unfocused eyes sharpened and my mind heard ripples of unmistakable shrill gasps of a few, making its way through the small town church. Seconds later, as all my senses tuned in to the now, the vision of our long time, white haired , King James Bible carrying preacher, gripping either side of the tall wooden pulpit, having less and less success as his whole being, went crashing to the floor, taking the pulpit preached from for over 50 years with him.

What happened next seemed to roll out in slow motion.

More and more people jumped into action. A nurse, a family member, a deacon… The preacher we all thought would be with us forever in our teenage minds was making his way to eternity despite the futile attempts of his rescuers from the congregation.

I huddled together with my teenage friends in the comfort of a long wooden pew far from the scene as the ambulance attendants burst through the church double doors never meant for this sort of thing, pushing a long narrow gurney with white sheets that seemed to speak loudly in their own way. This was church. All were welcome, but this didn’t ft.

Our church service had been changed in a moment in time. The white haired preacher, who had graced  the small town pulpit for over 50 years, had moved on to his Heavenly home… in a moment in time.

As the story unfolded over the next few days, when his Bible and personal belongings were retrieved by his family from his long time post at the pulpit, it was discovered It was to be his last message preached. His wish according to his family was to enter Heaven doing what he was called to do and love… preach the Gospel with his last breath.

And so he did. How incredible.

I look back to that moment in time periodically. A Sunday night church service, and how my young mind translated from a listless Sunday evening church service to a life changing moment for a preacher and his congregation that included a listless teenager like me.

In a moment… life can change forever. The effects can be everlasting. Was anyone in that small congregation anticipating what would happen that Sunday evening? A strong NO I would venture to say, including the daydreaming teenager in me.

We all have a choice where we will spend eternity, yet eternity seems so far away at times. That day in my teenage mind, in a single moment, the turn came for one of Heaven’s souls. Now an everlasting citizen of the very Heaven he had preached about unwaveringly for over 50 years.

That night’s memory may have moved to the back of my mind through the years, but I know it changed me to this day.

I choose to try to live “in the moment” because that is what we have. And along with living in the moment, comes a certainty of eternity in Heaven, if it be 50 years from now or in one single moment. The Gray haired preacher did not know it was to be his last night on earth that Sunday evening over 4 decades ago now, but he was sure where he was going. He had preached about this eternity for so many years, accepting the free gift from his Savior many many years earlier as his testimony portrayed.

I too remember one night, under the covers of my blanket, at the tender age of 11 accepting that free gift of forgiveness and eternity in Heaven. FREE…. nothing I did… but everything HE did. Certainty of Heaven for me when the time comes, just as the time came for the old, Gray haired preacher that night…. He was prepared …I am prepared….we all can be…

ready at any moment.

“That’s Music to My Ears!!”

The day was planned.

Dust and dirt would fill every uncovered crevice of our beings. The greasy racetrack fries, with a healthy dollop of ketchup and a favorite ice cold 7 up to wash down every mouthful, accompanied you as you eagerly watched the 1st of the late model heats come roaring around the 1st turn, as the man with the green flag energetically waved it in the traditional X motion.

NOW THAT’S MUSIC TO MY EARS !!” you would yell above the roar, your eyes wide and sparkling as the reminders of the past 13 years of a debilitating life changing stroke all but disappeared in that moment. I so loved experiencing your energized spirit in these moments that seemed to erase the challenges of the past years.

My daughter heart was full as my chair touched yours as our combined love for the races seem to morph into one. Every every lap of the late models energized us both immensely; I would dare to say the favorite fries and ice cold 7 up may have taken a back seat to this constant adrenaline, but the combination was a must as the tall looming bright track lights slowly replaced the setting sun in the distance over the open farmer’s fields. The new atmosphere brought us to a favorite time of the evening… we were both night owls…. and we loved it.

As the man with the checkered flag crossed them viciously and with much excitement, the last of the races came to an end. Always too soon for both of us. Another annual race date with my dad had come to an end.

You were tired and cold, but so so content as we slipped into your van. Yet the evening was not complete without a quick nightlunch stop at the local Dairy Queen for the final lap of our evening before the cherished flag… the coveted peanut Buster parfe… extra peanuts. No words were spoken till the tall plastic cup of your most favorite treat was gone till the last shaped spoonful of goodness. No words were needed. Your pure enjoyment of every spoonful spoke volumes in the now darkening van.

You left way too soon for my heart, but I can just imagine you cheering on the best of the best races in Heaven ❤

I can only imagine our God coveting a close personal relationship with each one of us on this planet. He tells us in his Word that is His Heart. The relationships we enjoy so much cannot even compare to how He loves to see us exclaim:”THAT’S MUSIC TO MY EARS!! …when we enjoy all He has done for us and given us, and most of all, make time for Him… touch chairs with Him…. be one in the enjoyment of each other.

The “races” in our lives, the “greasy fries with ketchup”, along with a “refreshing 7” up topped off with a “peanut buster parfait” represent all the good and lovely He gives His children… He is such a good God.

My memories of our father/daughter dates are near and dear to my heart, but our God’s heart wells with joy and love infinitely more when we live a life of thankfulness for all His blessings. My Heavenly father/ daughter times together bless him right back, and his heart overflows with love when thankfulness lives on our lips and we proclaim…

“THAT’S MUSIC TO MY EARS!!”

Christmas in Heaven

Dad!! You.. are.. there!!

In a blink!!

I’m so glad your Jesus and your Angels were with you in those last moments❤️. You were soo ready! You longed for this moment for the past 13 years and especially after mom went to Heaven… you missed her soo much.

You said you were not scared to die. You were ready. I hope you felt my last hug the day before. I hope your spirit heard my singing, “What a friend we have in Jesus”(Your favourite we sang together many times) and “How beautiful Heaven must be.” My “thank yous” and my goodbyes.

Thank you for our night shifts. You always encouraged me… and my book is done dad… you always asked about it. I’m so glad I read to you those late nights. I’m so glad the “Louisville” story made it into my book, but more than that, you heard it firsthand! Front seat:)

Oh how I wish I could have seen the welcome you recieved by mom, your parents, Grandma and Grandpa Janz and so many more! My friend shared that she saw you give Jesus a big huge hug like a long lost friend… What a beautiful picture❤️

Just like the song we sang for many years together “What a friend we have in Jesus.” I’m so sure mom grabbed you as she burst through the crowd! And she could hardly reach because you were soo tall and so sturdy on your feet… WALKING!!! I am soo happy for your ultimate healing dad!

That big broad smile and mom reaching for your face and holding it in her hands as she love to do on Earth in your happy times.

Did she take you by the hand dad? What then dad? Did you start dancing with mom as she had always yearned for here on Earth? Did she lean on your chest and know all was well forever more?

I can only imagine… But you don’t have to anymore! I am sure Jesus said “Well done my son! ” He saw you struggle and your faithfulness. You never complained…and now your prayers of complete healing were answered!!

What do you see Dad? Billy Graham… Johnny Cash… George Beverly Shea… Don Williams… Wilf Carter? Is he singing “You Are My Sunshine” as you sing your favourite song to mom in your beautiful bass voice??

Is Billy Graham still preaching the Salvation story so important you? I would imagine so!

Do you see our son who left us far too soon now 34 years ago?… Do you see your Mansion prepared just for you by your Jesus? Is mom walking you there? Is Jesus just smiling at your wonderment?

How do your feet feel on the golden streets?? You longed so to feel the crunch of leaves and snow beneath your feet for the past 13 years… I’m confident the streets of gold more than make up for it!

Is “night lunch” ready at Grandma and Grandpa Janz’s? Is uncle Nick and tante Sara and all the rest of the family there welcoming you? Has Grandma Janz made your favourite flan cherry pie just like she did on the farm and for you and mom’s wedding?… And did she exclaim with excitement… “Hendrich!!

Have you told them of the books I’ve written like you said you would and have you hugged your dad so tight like you talked about so much? And have you told him of everything he had missed these past 20 years?

It’s been nine months dad and it will be your first Christmas in Heaven!!

I’ve been listening to “Alan Jackson Christmas” as had been your favourite this past year, bringing you sweet memories of mom❤️

Statler brother and Johnny Cash Christmas music just brings tears to my eyes and heart as I remember you playing those CDs over and over again this past year trying to keep mom close to you.

Are you singing “Angels We Have Heard On High” and are you harmonizing in your beautiful bass voice in a choir of angels??

Oh what a Hope we have!!

Well Dad, just for now… I will continue to celebrate on earth with those I hold so dear, but I will remember, as I gaze upon yours and mom’s black and white wedding picture and our first family black and white professional portrait when we were just little at Walt’s Studio.

Is the snow falling softly on the streets of gold as the latest country song goes? Are all the trees decked in lights beyond what I can even imagine as we have attempted to decorate on this planet for many years?

Oh how you loved Christmas!! you and Mom both!!

But for now I will remember you through the home movies we used to enjoy together, as I watch you walking tall in another lifetime it seems when you were the master of your gravel truck and your coveted 66 “Merc” as you called it….

As you now enjoy

Christmas in Heaven❤️

The Cloth

Time was not on her side…Time was not on my side.

Time had not been kind to her body, nor her mind, and time had not been kind to our relationship at times, and now it was time… Time to say goodbye.

Time to close this chapter in a way that would close all the chapters before. The time had come for my mom to say goodbye to this world… to us… to me…

but I wanted more time.

The drive from my small hometown to my moms was short, too short for all my heart wanted to say to my mom. Where do I start… where do I end?

A short prayer of “Show me how to wrap everything that has hurt and everything that was good in this short time that was left.”

I buzzed into the building as I had done many times over the years, knowing it could be the last time.

The ride to the second floor seemed far too quick. The familiar hallways didn’t make things easier for my heart as I slowed my steps to perhaps make time stand still, if even just for a moment.

Mom’s homemade, colourful bauble Christmas wreath still adorned the front door as my mom had been too tired to take it down as time was stealing away her strength.

It was now the month of April and the chorus of tiny birds living in trees just outside the building had sung me in again like they did most days.

But my heart was not joining in their happy chorus. I wanted time… more time I didn’t feel I had. There was so much to say… or was there?

I made my way down the familiar short hallway to her bedroom. The door was open. She never liked to be alone. Her small curled up being was covered with a soft cozy blanket taking up such a small space in the large queen size bed. It was a picture I had seen many times before, coming for lunch during these past few years.

But today was different. Lunch was not on either of our minds.

I slowly crouched beside her side of the bed, leaving us face to face with each other.

“Hi Mom,” I quietly whispered, “it’s Arlene,” as I placed my hand on her warm forehead. “Would you like a cold cloth?” I gently asked.

A slow familiar smile crossed her face as she replied, “That would be nice.”

I quickly made my way to the bathroom sink and gently took a pale green cloth from my mom’s freshly washed stack of wash cloths and proceeded to wring it under a slow stream of cool water.

My heart was all of a sudden completely wrapped up in this small, but somehow very meaningful process in the moment.

Making my way back to the small form in the large bed, I gently… oh so gently, place the cool, pale green cloth on her warm forehead.

My mom closed her heavy eyes gently as a familiar slight smile formed on her lips, “Thank you.” She whispered quietly in her weak but familiar voice.

And there it was.

The answer to my prayer.

All that needed to be said and done was wrapped up in just one cool, pale green cloth…

It was done in one moment.

Three days later my mom peacefully entered Heaven’s Glory. We both experienced a peace. The healing journey would continue through the next few years, but the close to that chapter… an answer to my prayer, would be a beginning.

Heaven for my mom and a Heaven-sent answer to a prayer for me…. A beginning and an end….

With…

the cloth.