Precious Letters…”With Love… Always”

Goodbyes seemed like the end.

It was the 1940s… they were the end.

Or so it seemed in their aching hearts.

Hopelessness of perhaps never seeing the ones they so loved this side of Heaven again.

Her… him… a sister… a mother… a father… All sailing for another land that may as well have been another planet.

It was my grandma’s experience as she said farewell with long, lingering hugs and tears no doubt with those she loved so dear.

The hope of a thread of connection lay in the “onion thin”, expensive airplane paper as it was dubbed in those years.

It was hope.

Decades later, that same onion thin paper was her thread of connection with her daughter, across the miles, deep in the bowels of South America. Again… seemingly planets away.

The nightly ache was only soothed perhaps by the love of her family living on this side of the world and her seemingly unshakable faith in her God whom she loved and trusted… even when the “onion thin” paper was the only connection.

Prayers for her daughter nightly took the focus off of her longing heart.

She trusted. Trusted in His plan for her daughters life.

And then… It happened.

A shrill ring coming from the black 70s wall phone, living just above grandpas trusty vintage rocking chair , where his daughter had rocked securely on his lap many many years before, demanded all time stand still.

Her simmering stew on the stove… Off.

The vintage radio relaying the local news, sitting on the dining room hutch, which had traveled across the ocean many more years ago… off.

All distractions chased away for this coveted moment in time.

It was something my young heart witnessed with a sense of awe as everyone I held dear to me was but a short comfortable ride away in my dad’s 66 “Merc”. No onion thin paper was needed to meet with those I loved so dearly.

Memories of those times are many decades behind me/them now. Yet they somehow remind me of my journey through the Bible. Winding roads taken, mountain tops, valleys, and every step in between sometimes feeling planets away from my God …leaning on every word written on the “onion thin” paper that made up my first Bible… A precious gift from my mom and dad at the age of 13.

Reading and rereading the “precious letters” from the One who writes the best letters ever.

And then… it happened.

The “call”… clear connection, as some revelation of His Word “rung” in my ears and deep in my heart….clearer than all the Words I’d been reading perhaps for months by then.

It was a moment to cherish greatly.

All distractions… Off.

Music… Off.

Stove top supper… Off.

All distractions chased away to focus on this special coveted time of clear connection… Hearing….listening….revelation that would guide me in my journey in this life.

These coveted letters as I’ve been told, are now tucked away carefully long after my grandma has gone to Heaven….now face to face…having a crystal clear connection with those on the other side of the 1940s onion thin paper.

The memories of those coveted years of communication and special phone calls on that 1970s black wall phone, will always remain a treasured piece in my heart, reminding me of the ultimate letters in His Word, and the clear revelations… The “calls”… He gives us, longing to connect with us.

Be excited.

Excited for His ultimate precious letters to you…hope… signed..

“With love… ALWAYS” ❤️

The Apron

It was the essence of who she was.

Wiping her hands thoroughly for what may have been the “50th” time that day, on the signature patterned piece of material, snuggly and meticulously tied in a knotted bow behind her back, my grandma glided her way gracefully across the farmhouse kitchen floor between the stove and the table, tending to her freshly baked buns, gloriously on the rise.

Fresh Garden potatoes fried in lard, and lots of it, with lots of onions, simmered on the stove waiting for Grandpa to come in from the barn for supper.

I was blessed to have had a few grandmas that wore these coveted aprons over the years.

Just hours before, this same handmade apron, trimmed with vintage lace, served as a “bowl” for her large garden fresh grown cucumbers and ripe tomatoes picked that morning.

This same apron served as comfort as grandma knelt to wipe the tears off of one of us grandkids as we burst in the farmhouse door regularly, skinned knee needing one of her Band-Aid bandages after a rousing game of outdoor hockey with our younger uncle.

As the day wore on, the apron stayed fastened securely around Grandma’s wonderfully soft waste my little hands would wrap around often.

It wasn’t just something she wore… put on…

it was her.

Taking a break in her day, Grandma would ever so often find her way to her bedroom down the hallway and lay herself gently on her perfectly made bed for just awhile.

As she lay in the cool of her room, shaded by the canopy of poplar trees standing stoically around the back of the house, her mind would periodically travel back as memories of a different time would bring a smile to her lips along with a happy tear or two getting wiped away with the corner of her apron.

It seemed to be a quiet gentle friend in those kind of moments… never far away… just within reach.

This same apron had wrapped her tiny babies tightly and securely to shield the daylight from their eyes to help along the process of lulling them perhaps into the land of an afternoon nap in the moment.

A quick dip of the corner of the farmhouse sink filled with dishwater carried in from the farm yard well, was just the perfect solution for wiping off a “milk beard” of fresh farm milk from us little girls, as grandma’s pursed lips made a buzzing sound through her contagious smile with every stroke.

The Apron.

It stood for something.

Something safe, something answered, something felt,

When bursting through that 60s farmhouse door I would see my grandma’s apron tucked lovingly and securely around her beautiful being…

I felt home.

A place where my body, my soul, my spirit could rest, knowing it would be the answer to my tears… milk beard… skinned knees…and my naptime apron… shielding the light from my childhood sleepy eyes.

A place I could rest against the soft essence of my grandma.

Now many years later, though living in adulthood now, being a blessed Grandma to eight grandchildren myself, my heart still longingly remembers the apron as I think back to those favourite childhood memories.

I don’t have to look too far as I remember how my God has wiped my tears… cleaned my skinned knees… provided abundance from His garden of Plenty, and even wiped my silly milk moustache… because He lives in all pieces of our lives.

Nothing is too much for Him. and I need to remind myself though the days of Grandma’s apron are but a treasured memory now tucked deep in my heart, He is always enough for all of this… and so much more.

A quiet gentle friend always just within reach… A place of rest in the midst of all life brings.

I have a Hope.

You have a hope.

A hope of a God who will be all of this to us and so much more… enveloped in His amazing love… reminding us of all we found…

In the apron❤️

Forever and Ever…Amen

The vintage colourful lights strung over the city Main Street in the shape of festive familiarity.

Our family car, a 66 Mercury (Merc, as my dad would call it), malibu blue in colour, was our chariot for this coveted annual event my little heart looked forward to every year.

It was 1974.

The classic landmark Hudson’s Bay Company dazzled with all that Christmas was in the 1970s.

Multicolored vintage lights dazzled the scenes of Christmas trains, walking dolls and more, surrounded by trees adorned with silver tinsel and streams of vintage coloured round baubles and teardrop decorations.

It was nothing short of magical.

Each string of lights and treble cleft shaped Christmas architecture, passed by my view from the frosted back window as I sat snuggled and tucked between my grandpa and grandma. It was my favourite place to be in the whole wide world.

All was well in my young heart in that spot in that moment.

My homemade burgundy, pretend fur coat, made lovingly by my mom, hugged me in all the right spots as we travelled along in the warmth of the 66 Merc as my mom always preferred it to be.

The winter snow fell gently to the ground outside our window. It was a picture I would hold deep in my heart for many years to come.

The evening Christmas crowds bustled along in between the high banks of snow.

“Go Tell it On The Mountain” and “Children Go Where I send Thee” crooned out the front from my dad’s coveted collection of 8-track tapes, clicking after each track was done.

I felt safe and secure as my dad sat confidently in the driver’s seat, arm perched on the side of the door, three fingers casually directing the wheel in any direction we wanted to go. Many years of experience had brought him to this point.

My little heart trusted completely.

My mom clasped her black, plastic oversized purse with a single silver metal clasp and 2 rounded straps as she sat comfortably in the passenger seat. This too was a night out she looked forward to all year as the many years of the 70s were filled with being a stay-at-home mom… baking, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and chauffeuring to a young family.

Though her heart had already experienced more Christmases than mine, my little heart could say for today… this night… our hearts were both young in the season of Wonder.

And then as if this evening of Christmas lights and the wonders of the Hudson Bay display wasn’t enough, my heart anticipated the next part of the Christmas evening journey to Woolco.. THE store of those years.

Making my way past the display cases of jewellery greeting us as I stumbled through the doors in excitement, I couldn’t wait to make my way to the back of the store, where perched at the diner, we would order perhaps cherry pie or crispy fries as the treat of the night.

It was almost beyond what my little heart could handle.

My mouth watered incessantly with every step taken in my seventies winter lace-up boots, pointed down the main aisle to the back of the “big city store” towards the diner.

It would be a wonderful end to a wonderful evening with some of whom I loved so dearly, enjoying that which was so dear to my heart.

Now almost 50 years later, my mind can enjoy this special memory. It was a season in time to be enjoyed, but it all ultimately came to an end only to live in my memories… Although beautiful memories.

The same grandmother who sat with me so securely and safely in the backseat of that 66 Merc so many years ago, would introduce me to Randy Travis’s “Forever and Ever Amen” a decade later.

This song has taken on a meaning deep in my soul as I interpret it. My mind can only imagine what a day that will be when I will enjoy an even more glorious life with all those so dear to me, now waiting for me in Heaven when we won’t ever have to live on memories again.

Most of those enjoying that coveted evening in 1974 have gone on to eternity now…on their journey of experiencing forever and ever…

All we experience will come around again and again and again. How incredible! If life has been less than wished-for or perhaps only the memories remain… take heart!

Get your hopes up!

Get excited for forever!!

Forever loving those you have missed for too long!!

Our God is the ultimate forever memory maker in the land of no tomorrow’s.

So I say again take heart!

And look forward to…

Forever… and ever… Amen❤️

Be the Broach

The light danced happily on every corner of each pretend vintage stone and shone like a million stars in the midnight sky, perfectly fitted on my grandma’s black and white houndstooth coat.

It was the perfect canvas for her favourite broach.

My grandma’s beautiful ornate jewellery box, living perfectly beside her vintage hair brush set on her neatly organize dresser, was the perfect home to many a piece of special jewellery given to her by grandpa, the love of her life, and her family over the years.

But this piece in particular had special meaning as it had lived through many, many a generation.

It seemed to shine and sparkle greater than all the rest.

Her coat may have looked less special and plain without the beautiful vintage broach taking centre stage and subtly demanding attention. My grandma almost seemed to walk taller the moment the rolling mechanism clasped the sharp pin securely and confidently into place.

My little eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to its shimmer and sparkle with every graceful turn of my grandma as she went about her shopping at the local One Stop Shop in her small hometown.

Wherever she went, her beautiful broach seemed to lead the way.

Finding her broach tucked carefully it seemed, a long way down in my jewellery box many years later now, the memories of this broach and all that surrounded it fondly warmed my heart. It was like yesterday. The memory is still stamped so vividly in my mind.

It made me think of how we have the opportunity to wear His presence… A beautiful gift that was given to all who will recieve, and how our everyday moments, words, actions… can reflect our God as a “million stars in the night”. Our black and white “houndstooth coat”.. (our self efforts) can present less special and plain and maybe not noticeable at all, unless we walk in His presence daily reflecting Him to our world around us.

The history of the lovely broach goes back many, many centuries to a time when it had a practical use to hold garments together.

As we choose to wear Him daily, we will experience Him holding us together as we reflect the goodness and most of all His amazing love.

When we are willing to be the reflection of the Holy Spirit, it may leave a stamp of Hope…the Light of the world… to those who encounter the reflection.

May we remember to wear our broach, His Spirit. May we walk tall daily as we go about our lives, because when we wear His Spirit daily, and reflect His amazing love, it will not only change us, but those around us, and every turn we make in our lives will reflect Him.

Today…be the reflection of the Light of Hope inside you…

Be the Broach❤️

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow”…. And Other Things We Tell Ourselves

She dared herself.

She dared to BE herself.

I don’t know much of her story, but what I do know is …

She followed her passion.

I can hear it in her voice as I slide my finger over the red line back to the beginning on her Utube site, many times over as I immerse myself in the spirit of her songs.

Eva Cassidy was her name.

A hidden gem to the world when she lived in it, and still remembered maybe even more by many now, after she left us in 1996.

Singing has been a passion of mine since I was a child. I love to sing.

From hymns of my childhood to the country gospel Classics from behind closed doors to the open stage of my church and many family celebrations.

It makes my soul happy.

Though our talents may have been poles apart, I share her passion of doing something I love.

In this season of my life, writing has taken center stage.

I sleep it… I dream it…

I live it daily.

I really don’t believe we ever swap one passion for another, I think our different gifts take center stage in our lives as different seasons dictate.

Eva’s music, or even just Eva, has touched a piece deep inside of me. One of her versions of a most recognizable song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow speaks deeply to me.

It made me really think.

As I continue to watch the utube of her sitting comfortably on a stage surrounded by less than 30 people in a quiet, quaint coffee shop, guitar on her lap, effortlessly supporting her beautiful but powerful soprano voice, wrapping each word lovingly around familiar and not so familiar songs…

I wonder if she knew…

knew how much she would impact me… years after she had died… and impact the music world in more ways than she could have ever imagined?

I just wonder.

No matter what she was singing, her heart… her soul… her presence, is where I heard her message. And in her message, she followed her passion with every part of her being.

She tells a story.

It gets me… It keeps me…

because she is undeniably doing what she was always meant to do.

I leaned in to hear more clearly, hanging on every note, every word… her presence commanding the stage ever so gracefully, but more importantly… authentically.

She brings all of her..

She brings Eva Cassidy.

She “dares to dream” as the song goes,

And ” if happy little bluebirds fly high Over the Rainbow… why can’t I”, rings deep in her “yes” … this is my” over the rainbow.”

She had the courage to make”someday” be “today.”

Sometimes we wait years or maybe sit in the “someday” because of the unknown, staying in the safety of our thoughts, our world.

But in staying there, we may merely exist our way through life and never dare to live out our passions that we were created to live out, given to us by our loving God, who freely gave us our gifts.

Someone needs you… living in your passion… “now”

Bring you.

We can hope to live a richer more authentic life and touch those around us, because a gift such as that is always meant to be shared and perhaps change the world if only on your front porch.

Dare to “fly” like that little blue bird.

Inspire.

Touch.

and leave a lasting gift that will resound many years after you are gone. A gift/ passion that may give just even one person hope…. hope for one more day… and after that…hope for one more.

We all need hope.

Dare to live your passion.

Now.

Don’t wait till “ Someday Over the Rainbow”…

and other things we tell ourselves.

Just do it.

Forever Priceless

80% off.

That which was so valuable just 24 hours before…

Now… 80% off.

The wonder and majesty of the season, the lights in all their Sparkle and array of colours, each decoration telling a story perhaps as each tree stood decorated in all its Glory.

My Home stood seemingly stark and bare, only in contrast to that which had occupied it for many weeks during this Christmas season.

The bucket of lights, decorations and garland sat filled haphazardly with all that had dazzled and glimmered and represented the season. The Collection still sparkled but seemed to have lost the majestic intent.

It reminded me of walking into a second hand store, What was once a high price paid in decades past, is now less. 40…50.. 80% off. The same piece, now less valuable because society, season, has deemed it less worthy because it may not be in style anymore… not new… colour is off… etc.

As my eyes fell on each discount sign as I travelled through a new season being created in the store, I couldn’t help but think of how price gets determined and value gets placed onto things on this planet.

Some things lose its value in an instant due to Seasons in our lives, some lose its value because of lack of usefulness and perhaps being outdated.

The things in our lives may not have changed but the value has been attached to them already.

Our worthiness may be diminished as we outgrow relationships and we are rejected… 50%… Our performance according to some may not measure up so the tag on our hearts says… 80% off.

We all age and as we do our worth in the workforce, our wisdom perhaps, gets tagged… perhaps even 90% off.

This planet will always judge us according to all these and many other factors that diminish our value, but there is One who sees us as Priceless… no matter the season… No matter our usefulness… No matter… No matter…. No matter.

How does something become valuable or even priceless?

Because of the great price that was willing to be paid.

No gold, no diamonds, or all the wealth in the world could pay for the price paid for our Ransom of our worth. He deemed us worthy because he was Worthy. And he tells us so…

For you are bought with a great price” – Corinthians 6:20

Get excited!

Get really excited!

Because we will never wear a price tag…. A sale price… 80% off.. Because he who was the Priceless gift….

Made us,

forever priceless ❤️

Beyond The crocheted Angels

Silver ones… gold ones… small ones… big ones… glass ones.One by one they caught my eye as I looked around the small room, now only my dad’s place as mom had passed away two months before.Delicately, I gently cradled the small glass one cupped in my hand. My mind travelled back in time as it took me to a time many years ago in a city hospital, late, late one night, cupping my hands gently around the same angel.As I gently placed it on the side table, smelling of hospital cleaner beside my moms bed, she didn’t notice it that day, but days after her 13-hour surgery that almost took her life, she let me know how much she had cherished it.As my thoughts brought me back to the present, I realized as I stood here, angel cupped gently in my hands, how many moves over the years this tiny gem had survived.It had been special to her and now it had a special in my heart as I felt a piece of her with me as I stood there in the small room.The sounds of John Denver and Rita MacNeil Christmas, along with many others, crooned from my mom’s tape player, now by my dad’s bedside lulling him to sleep most nights this Christmas season.”Angels We Have Heard On High” came next on the playlist… how fitting it was in this moment.Gently I placed the small glass angel back in its rightful spot alongside the rest of the eclectic array of Christmas angels on the small 80’s wooden shelf on the wall.I looked at the small room, single bed ready for me to spend the night, now a weekly routine now that mom was gone. Her appliqued queen size duvet waiting patiently for me to crawl under.. but sleep with from my mind this night.I quietly made my way down the hall to the cozy living room now lovingly decorated for the season with all that said Mom by those who took care of my dad day in and day out. I nestled into mom’s cozy corner rocker, left vacant too often now that she was gone hoping to feel her close again.I closed my eyes to the now faint Christmas music flowing gently from my dad’s room. But just before my eyes closed completely, another angel caught my eye.There on the miniature, warmly lit tree hung an array of crocheted Christmas angels.. crisp white with a red bow to complete the look, all handmade by my mom.These angels had been a part of my memory for a number of Christmas’ by now, but this night, entering the first Christmas season without her… they seemed to burn a new sense of Christmas spirit into my heart.My mind wandered to the last Christmas with Mom and a small box of delicate glass Angels gifted to me that now filled my tabletop tree in my dining room. Eight of them representing my growing armful of grandchildren by now.These angels seemed to fill every corner of my mom’s life over the years. She loved them. They had special meaning to her, especially through the tough times in her life. And tough times there were.They represented a comfort to her.She knew the Holy Bible told her we all have an angel assigned to us as born-again believers by our God whom she had served since her acceptance of Him at the tender age of five, as she had shared with us many times over the years.As a few warm tears trickled slowly down each side of my cheeks, my mind couldn’t help but wonder how amazing and utterly glorious it could be as I thought of my mom, now walking closely with her guardian angel among the multitude of angels Singing,”Glory to God in the highest, peace Goodwill to all men”… words she had sung for 73 Christmases on earth for so many years.Her journal entry in this last year had alluded to her longing as she wrote:”What a day that will be!! No more sorrow!! No more sadness!! To be in Glory forever!!My heart could hardly contain my imagination of what she was experiencing now. A hope we can all have if we but give our hearts to God and become His children and accept his free gift of eternal life.A hope I too yearn to experience someday when I’ll meet my mom and so many others, along with my Jesus.. forevermore…beyond the crocheted angels❤️