The Light Is Still On

I was hoping.

Hurrying down the street of my Hanover Street neighbourhood past the summer time sunset, I could faintly see the golden hue of the porch light through the leaves of the mighty oak, planted many years before, that had stood the test of time, standing stoically on the corner of the white picket fence that signified home to my young heart.

It was a time children could stay out past dark and the biggest worry would be to get home before the now cold tub water was thrown out from the large metal tub the whole family bathed in… Same water for all.

The vintage light bulb surrounded by the tiniest night time bugs was a stability… security that all was well. Mom and Dad were home, waiting for the last of the children to come in from the darkened summertime streets.

My red and white 70s banana seat bike bumped happily onto the gravel driveway.

I was 8… And my heart was happy… the light was still on.

*************

Driving down the dusty country gravel road in my dad’s 78 green LTD, the darkness surrounded the car with only the high beams lighting the way as the rain poured down around me.

I knew… just knew, no matter where my evening had taken me… just passed the evergreens bordering the front yard, the front porch light, still surrounded by the tiniest night time bugs would still be on since I was not home yet. Mom and dad would still be up… waiting for the last of the teenagers to make their way home.

I was 18…and my heart was happy…. The light was still on.

****************

My heart, my mind, my eyes… strained longingly through the snow packed windshield waiting to get a glimpse of the snow covered front porch light beaming through the snow storm.

It was home.

Making my way down the snow packed highway, now still 20 miles from my home, my knuckles gripping the steering wheel tighter and tighter as the snow storm swirled mercilessly around my 1981 Silver Chevy Topaz, covering any hope of previous tracks on the lonely stretch of highway deep in the dark of the night.

My husband would be waiting up. I was 28 and my heart was happy because the light would still be on.

**************

Making my way from a church service wanting to make sense of some things happening in my life now and throughout the past years, there was no 8 year old summertime Darkness… no 18 year old pouring rain… and there was no 28 year old swirling snowstorm.

Yet the darkness of the things I couldn’t see in my life… the pouring rain of tears…or the swirling snow storm of confusion in my mind.. my heart, had left me searching for the comfort of that light… the light at 8… the light at 18… and the light at 28.

My soul yearned for the light that brought a comfort that said I was home.

I picked up my little brown Bible my mom and dad had given me at the age of 13 and started reading.

Reading passages and chapters I had read many times over the years, yet this time I saw through the darkness… through the pouring rain.. and through the swirling snow storm… A light.

A light I had always heard about but had not seen for myself. I found a peace that had escaped me for too many years. A joy that filled my heart from corner to corner and a Truth… not just any Truth, but the Truth about who my God was to me and who I was to Him.

It was the comfort of home my heart had yearned for over the decades.

Someone was waiting…. He was waiting…. No matter where I’d been.

The God of the universe… Waiting for me to see the Truth… And come home.

I was 48…. And my heart was happy…

Because the LIGHT was STILL on❤️

The Power of “One”

Do you ever think:

Does what I do matter?… Do I make a difference?

Do I impact my world?.. THE world?

Well than you are in good company. I would dare say everyone on the planet has had these thoughts at one time or another.

I recently listened to the testimony of a well-known evangelist, Ravi Zacharias on YouTube.

At 17, he attempted to take his life and was hospitalized in grave condition…. Done with life.

The doctors saved his life but Ravi would need to want to live to continue when he would walk out those doors.

A man Ravi did not know, found his way into his hospital room with nothing more than a small but powerful answer to Ravi’s despair in the palm of his hand.

A red Gideon Bible.

This stranger proceeded to read a very short passage of scripture from the Gospel of John chapter 14:

I am the Way, The Truth and the Life… Because I live, you also shall live.

He stayed but a very short while as Ravi was quite weak, but this stranger knew in his heart that this small, but powerful piece of life in the palm of his hand would be the answer/hope to Ravi”s life of despair.

Ravi let it sink into his heart… and it changed his life completely from there on.

Ravi Zacharias died this past week after 48 years of loving life in the ministry of the Gospel to the world.

The Gospel message that changed His life….The Way, The Truth, and the Life.

India, his home country, called him India’s Billy Graham.

As this man goes on to share after Ravi ‘s death, if he had done nothing else with his life… influenced no one else, he felt he would have fulfilled his purpose here on Earth as he watched Ravi for the next 48 years of his worldwide Ministry, spreading hope in the Gospel to anyone and everyone, and especially to those who had been at the end of themselves as he had been.

This man’s one act that fateful day in Ravi’s hospital room, stretched way beyond Ravi… indirectly influencing the whole world over the next 48 years through Ravi.

What if he had not listened to the nudge on his heart that day?

Ravi may have gone on to be influenced by someone else who said yes to a nudge, but the point is, Ravi’s life was completely changed by the influence of ONE…

One Godly Man… Saying yes to a nudge.

Ravi went from wanting to die to wanting to live in the matter of moments, and went on to influence others with the same Gospel that had changed him that day.

How powerful.

This man unknown to Ravi, could never know have known that day what his moment of influence would carry in the next 48 years through Ravi Zacharias’ life.

Does what you do matter?

Do you make a difference?

Do you impact your world?… THE world?

Today… the words you speak, the things you do, the listening ears you have for a moment…. may just be the beginning of 48 years of influence.

Follow the nudge.

It starts with you.

The Power of One.

To MOM: My Journey Through Mother’s Day.

To MOM:

said the letters crudely scribbled on the pink homemade construction paper card, from the hand of a five-year-old, almost finishing the kindergarten year.

Her teacher had given examples on the black board to follow if needed, but her little heart had her own ideas… and so she did just that… follow her heart already at the tender age of five.

The inside cover was half filled with hand drawn red flowers and forest green uneven stems, coloured with Crayola crayons that smelled oh so wonderfully.

She quickly raised one to her little nose so as to get all the aroma that always made her heart smile.

To MOM :

Said the words now well written, not printed, on a homemade card once again as she had really practiced her cursive writing diligently as required by now being in grade 5.

The crudely hand-drawn red Crayola flowers with the forest green uneven stems, had now been replaced by a poem from her own heart as her passion for writing emerged and blossomed year after year.

“Open the door to happiness” it began. The first line of many a handmade card she would find many years later going through her scrapbooks the year following the day her mom had left for Heaven.

It was everything she truly wished for her, but didn’t always know how to tell her over the years.

To MOM:

Said the front cover of a beautiful store bought card filled with beautiful store stamped flowers. The homemade cards were being slowly replaced by bought ones found in the $1 section( what she could afford in those days) but none the less precious to her as she tried finding the one that could portray what her high-school heart wanted to say.

As the teenage years rolled by, Mother’s Day became a bit more complicated in her heart.

There were many things that brought her Joy with her mom, like the smell and taste of her homemade garden fresh bean soup with ham, jars of canned peaches( not too much sugar though said mom) the local radio station, CHSM crooning softly through the house daily, country gospel, tips for teens, Back to the Bible broadcast, Trading post and so much more… setting the tone in our home.

Yet their hearts didn’t always beat in sync, creating times of unhappiness for them both. Nonetheless she continued to linger in the card aisle yearly on Mother’s Day, her heart trying to find the one with the right words amidst her conflict in her heart.

She loved her mom. There was no doubt. But life had taken on an unwelcomed sandpaper edge at times.

To MOM :

Said the annual hand-picked store cards…so the years continued, and now she had four daughters of her own and Mother’s Day had taken on a whole new meaning for her.

The view from the other side.

The hand printed cards with the fresh pungent smell of the Crayola crayons were now hers to open from her little girlies, continuing the never ending cycle of mother /daughter, that had gone on for many a generation now going back to HER mom.

To MOM:

Said the beautifully handwritten entry, her one of many journal entries she made the year before she left for Heaven.

“Another Mother’s Day Without You! Oh how I miss you! You would be 96 years young now! I so look forward to seeing you again someday in our Eternal home where we will never have to say good-bye again!”

She gently turned the pages of one of the beautifully gifted journals given to her mom over the years by her and others whom she held so dear to her heart.

A salty tear escaped slowly down her cheek as she read and re-read the words again about how her mom missed her mom, now a year after she had left for her Eternal home.

Flipping through the pages of a scrapbook found in the small dining room cabinet her heart welled up as she came across a card from herself in the handwriting years at the age of 10…

To MOM:

“Open the door to happiness” it began.

She couldn’t hold back the tears any longer as she held the Scrapbook and journal tight to her chest, just hoping to feel her mom close again through the pages.

The hope of her mom celebrating Mother’s Day in Heaven with her own Mom after missing her so much after all these years made her heart Happy in the moment, and her salty tears turned into joy in the moment as she envisioned her mom and HER mother celebrating Mother’s Day all together once again, but this time for all eternity through the Ages!

Her mom’s “door to happiness” had been truly opened once and for all time.

The last “To MOM” had been written in the form of a eulogy at her homegoing celebration the year before… Really saying everything she had always wanted to say over the years… And she had felt she had said it well.

Her heart knew it had really been the ultimate Mother’s Day card she had sometimes struggled to write over the years. Now all felt… Now all said.

So much time had passed. 50 years since the first of many Mother’s Day cards we’re given, and no matter what struggles her heart had felt in the Sandpaper years, she wished in this moment she could give her mother a Mother’s Day card just one more time….

Coloured with a wonderfully smelling red Crayola crayon… with forest green uneven stems…

And begin again…

To MOM:💖

The Sewing Box

Carefully and somewhat subconsciously, she slipped it on her thin wrist…

Her homemade orange and white fortrel pincushion with an elastic band, filled with an eclectic array of colourful pins.

There it would sit comfortably for the duration of her sewing project for the day, still wearing it for her mug of hot water breaks she took as it was good for her body and her soul she would claim.

A thimble nestled close by as a close parter to the pins for any project that arose.

Homemade 70s suits complete with matching tie for my dad, dresses, jeans and blouses for us girls, and sweater vests, pants, and Sunday shirts for our little brother.

The pin cushion was one of many useful things found in this array of treasures found in this vintage sewing box.

The three foot long trusty measuring tape, stamped with bold black numbers in inches back then, measured everything from waistlines to neck lines and everything in between from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes, indicating how much mom would need to adjust her trusty onion thin brown patterns that in the end were really just a loose suggestion.

Extra sewing machine accessories along with a trusty petite cream colored seem ripper that would help iliminate a few stitches that had gone ary, or perhaps used to open up a complete outfit handed down for resizing, found its home in this treasure box.

Many a spool of colored thread were tucked neatly in one corner ready for the next project.

It was a box filled with all that was needed to start and complete a project.

Without the sewing box and all its contents, the 1970s Bernina sewing machine would sit quiet.

Another important tool found in the box was a pair of regularly sharpened gold and silver sewing shears used to trim the grass on occasion around the house… a trusty companion for all her sewing projects and more.

This important tool was added to the sewing box many years before during the early days of a door-to-door salesman period my Dad tried his hand at to pay the bills for a time.

Big buttons, small buttons, round… square, and a few other fun colourful shapes, collected over the years, sat happily at the bottom of the eclectic array of sewing treasures just waiting patiently to be part of the next sewing project needed for the family.

The sewing box…

a home for all that was needed in creating a masterpiece for all occasions.

This box was always within arm’s reach, perched directly on the side of the vintage brown Bernina sewing machine cabinet.

No project could be started or finished without the contents of this simple yet elegant wooden vintage sewing box.

These sewing box memories remind me of tools needed to create the Masterpiece of Our lives…. Truth from the Word.

A seam ripper to undo a path taken in the wrong direction making room to create a bigger and better life, and a thimble for times life was getting too painful but needed to push through.

An army of buttons, perhaps to hold ourselves together when life begs us to fall apart.

A tape measure not nearly long enough to measure the height and depth of our Heavenly father’s unfailing love.

The spools of eclectic thread.. Forgiveness, healing, Joy, hope and so much more… may stitch together a life that is full of purpose.

Those freshly sharpened scissors for shaping a healthy life, permanently cut out that which threatens to take down our joy, peace, and hope in our lives.

And then there is the infamous pin cushion filled with an array of colourful pins, handy in the moment to put together His unending promises that carry us through our days on this planet…

all creating a beautiful garment(life) to be worn, lived, walking in the light and hope of our Heavenly Father.

A collection of all that is needed to live an abundant, well-lived life with His ever-present help…all tucked away in my heart as I look back in time and remember…

the sewing box.

The Ultimate Cellar

Inching my way gingerly down each old wooden, crudely built step in the musty dirt floor cellar, my young spirit was in awe at the wonder of this magical place of vintage canning jars, fruit pattern stamped into the pint and quart glasses.

Despite the blanket of dust wanting to settle on the beautiful array of colourful works of art sitting dutifully on the wooden shelves, it seemed a masterpiece of its own kind. Beautiful jars of canned peaches, peas, corn, rhubarb and Peach jams, komst borscht, somma borscht, meats, and so much more.

As the years rolled by and my home changed with every move my family made, the cellars would differ in location and size but would still always be the foundation of my mom’s array of colourful canning on display.

Hot summers of harvesting in her garden contributed to this masterpiece. Jellies and jams derived from summertime berry picking in Sandilands, to raspberry and strawberry picking at my grandma and great grandma’s Country gardens just a short drive away from my hometown where their own cellars housed their own beautiful colourful array of many a jar of tasty favourites.

Many a “faspa” (Sunday afternoon lunch) table as I remember it growing up, would be the home of many a pint jar of Mom’s freshly-made rhubarb strawberry and Peach jams, ready to be slathered on her healthy delicious homemade bread.

Mom’s tried-and-true recipe of pickles had its place in its own honorary green vintage pickle bowl… A true “faspa” favourite.

Many a hot summer evening after a supper of delicious canned tomatoes poured over homemade macaroni and cheese in the biggest roaster mom owned, a glass dessert bowl of canned peaches emerged for each one of us. First the peaches than the syrup were devoured. It was a beautiful ritual that lingers often in my memory still.

And then there were her canned crab apple (picked from great-uncles) , pie filling that nestled beautifully into the corners of her homemade pie dough, trusty recipe from the Mennonite Treasury Cook Book.

A long time favourite for many in the family.

Years later, after I had started my own family, more cellars became a constant in my life.

Pickled deep red beets, yellow Mustard Pickles, and delicious, beautiful chokecherry blue jars of jam, were the end result of many a warm summer afternoon working together with my mother-in-law in her Farmhouse kitchen. My four little girls soaked in the memories already then to be tucked away deep in their hearts to be cherished many years later in their own Cellar memories.

My grandma’s Robin blue cellar was the home of particularly tart, very red pin cherries in thin juice to be enjoyed poured over homemade Flapjacks (German pancakes) along with her ever famous extra tiny baby dills. A perfect addition to just about everything.

And then there was the meat, canned to a tasty perfection from the abundance deer season had afforded after many a day tracking and waiting by my dad in the early years, always adorned in his bright orange cap.

Those beautiful cellars are but a memory now as the masters of them, moms and grandmas, have made Heaven their home now. But these memories are still very strong in my heart as they bring me to a place of understanding when it comes to abundance from my Heavenly Father.

I Never worried of lack from those cellars many years ago and I never need to worry of lack from God’s ultimate Cellar.

All was provided out of an abundance of hard work and produce. Throughout the generations, many depended on these cellars for their survival. Mentally and physically.

Large jars of

Peace, Joy, and strength.. Favour, protection, and wisdom … Forgiveness comfort, eternal life, and healing…

And jar upon beautiful jar of unfailing love..

filled to the brim.

This picture tucked deep in my heart of the beautiful cellars over the years, so incredible, cannot be compared to the beautiful cellar Masterpiece of abundance from my Heavenly Father.

As beautiful as these jars of abundance are, sitting on the shelf, they are meant to be opened and enjoyed to the fullest… Just as I did from all those beautiful cellars over the years.

All from the abundance of…

The Ultimate Cellar.

The Easter Dress

The bolt of pastel purple, springtime fabric dotted with tiny white flowers, flopped over too many times it seemed for my little mind, as the store clerk mentally counted through her cat eyes glasses, all the while measuring with precise swiftness along the scratched brown yard stick fastened to the wide counter.

My young mom snapped open her black shiny 70s purse and counted out many, many one and 2 dollar bills and change… An endless amount of change it seemed, for the miles and miles of fabric my young mind perceived.

Every hard earned dollar and dime lay haphazardly in a vulnerable heap on the well worn arbrite counter at the local frequently visited fabric store.

The beginnings of the Easter dress ..a yearly treat. Homemade by my mom.2 little girls to sew for. .

Many an hour was spent perched at her loyal, older model 1960s Bernina sewing machine.

It had stood the test of time.

The Easter weekend was nearing as the warmer April winds pushed back Easter on the calendar that year.

No little matching white tights were needed, just our little bare legs accompanied by little cotton white socks tucked neatly in our shiny new white Sunday shoes.

The onion thin brown tissue pattern was but a guide as my mom’s large vintage gold and silver trimmed sewing sheers made thier way loosely around the distinct black outlines… A heavy “chunk” sound with every pinch of the scissors in her young hands.

By days end, my dress along with my younger sister’s (matching of course) would hang completed on a wire hanger next to the sewing machine… adorned with Ric Rac and petite shirred front pockets… Perhaps a “nest” for the coveted Easter treats accompanying the holiday to come.

As Easter Sunday made its debut… Symbolizing new beginning, my sister and I in our matching dresses, danced happily up the well worn steps of the old Hanover Street church we had attended for all the years my little mind could remember.

My mother lingered close behind her girls and young son wearing her newly sewn Easter creation… different pattern, but distinctly familiar of the pastel purple material gleaned from the fabric store bolt she had saved for over the past year.

There was something about a new dress and how it made me feel when I wore it for the first time… especially at Easter.

Wearing it for the first time held a sense of new beginnings, even at this tender age… whatever that meant for me in my little heart.

A new Easter dress was indicative of a new day… representing the most incredibly new day ever.

Those days of the Easter dress are now tucked far away in the furthest corners of my memories. Sweet memories.

The idea of a new day, new attitude, not just yearly but daily, reminds me of the newness I felt in those early years of the Easter dress.

New beginnings.

I continue to remind myself daily of the new beginning, the new day Easter represents as I face each moment of every day. My strength each day… Bought and paid for with a very high price and sacrifice.

And the result…

His mercies are new… Not only every year… but EVERY morning…

My thoughts… My reflections… As I remember the days of…

The Easter dress.

And The Music Played

He moved in closer to the microphone in front of him in his isolated apartment as the melody of a fifty-year-old classic was beautifully created in a new old way from around the world with many voices.

The World Wide Web became the friend that made it all possible when life as they knew it seem to have disappeared.

And the chorus united them all.

And the music played.

********

She longingly glanced at the large round metal clock on the sterile hospital green wall for what seemed like the hundredth time that hour as time seemed to stand still in the midst of the world standing still.

She quickly straightened her sweat-stained protective mask for what also seemed like the hundredth time that day… or so it seemed.

Her three years of late night studying for this passion that had become her, had not prepared her for what was ahead of her now…. 12 hour shift after 12 hour shift along with the rest of her colleges, looking into the fearful eyes of those looking up back at her from their coveted beds, snaking through the hospital corridors.

She did what she had been trained to do….what she had promised to do… and do what her heart was telling her to do…take the hand of those that could be her biggest enemy as her eyes met thier fearful gaze, hoping to hide her own along with perhaps thousands upon thousands of other frontline workers in the world at this same moment…

The cause uniting them all.

And the music played.

********

He knew he couldn’t just sit and watch as views of the deserted streets outside his window left a gaping silence in his heart in this new day.

Donning a homemade colourful mask in keeping with the new normal, aching to lend a hand to his fellow man amidst his own fears, He made his way through the empty streets to the nearest homeless shelter he had passed many a time in his life, going to work as a New York journalist in one of the high-rises of the now deserted city streets.

He joined those already feeding and sheltering some of the world’s most vulnerable… uniting with a cause.

And the music played.

********

She awoke with a heaviness on her heart as week 3 of her own world along with the rest of the world shutting down, commenced.

A single mom, life was a challenge at the best of times, but this… this was almost too much as the baby had not quit crying since she’d woken in the early hours of the morning. Her toddler thankfully played, contented on the floor with his coveted metal fire truck… his little lips providing all the necessary sounds.

Turning to her tiny 60s table in the corner of her small kitchen, she watched 4 little eyes staring back at her, pencils in hand, waiting for her instructions of a day where she was now their full-time teacher for the past 3 weeks among all the other teaching she did daily.

It seemed such an overwhelm to wake up day after day, coping in her 4 walls, as the horrors of domestic abuse had left her with the sole responsibilities of these tiny lives.

The ringing of the simple black telephone, hanging on the wall of the old house, seem to be her only portal to the outside world.

How was she doing? ….the caller asked. She spoke much needed encouragement. Perhaps shared some laughter, always good for the soul… and said a short prayer for her to face another day, not only for the new world that seemed to have encroached on her, but for her day-to-day that seemed too much most days.

That day, she chose another day… because of the ringing portal on the wall.

Perhaps many such calls all over the world uniting in the cause of support.

And the music played.

*******

She had loved her job at the local Diner now for the past 20 years, happily serving her longtime repeat customers, but in the past 3 weeks, her beloved Diner had ceased to exist as she had known it for the past 20 years.

How would her bills get paid?? How would she live as this new invisible enemy was blanketing not only her own little town… but the whole Earth.

And then, as her world seemed to unravel in the midst of the whole world crumbling, the man whose heart had lovingly ran the beloved diner for 20 years, changed everything.

No layoffs, only changes and big ones. The bills would get paid and perhaps the thoughts of ending it all, even for the most religious in this new day.

He united them for the cause.

And the music played.

********

As she sat huddled under her well worn couch blanket by her tiny television set, news broadcast blaring into her tiny living room 24/7, fearful of what this all meant, hearing the statistics of what this new enemy of the world was creating… She knew one thing and one thing for sure. She still needed to feed her family.

She hurriedly made her way through the grocery aisles filling her grocery cart with what seemed to be more than her share as the mountain got higher and higher. All necessary, but she was afraid. Her two little ones hugging her closely as they made their way.

She and her small family were new to this town, with family and friends thousands of miles away. The prospect of a new job for her hard working husband had brought them here.

Despite more and more stipulations about how to do life in public, her little ones needed to join their mother in the hallways of the local store, being vulnerable to the stares of those who didn’t share her same plight.

But as she rounded the corner of the produce aisle, her eyes met the gaze of a beautiful, silver haired, older woman. The woman smiled warmly as she glanced at the little apprehensive eyes looking back at her, clutching their mother’s side.

Her heart knew nothing of this woman’s life with her little ones hanging by her side.

So she made a choice.

She smiled.

That is all.

But it was everything.

No judgement.

Because the world was in this together.. united.

********

And the world came together and knew who the enemy was.

Not each other.

And the world threw open its windows wide… along with their hearts…

And the birds sang louder…

And the skies became Bluer…

And the stars… brighter.

And the God they prayed to, hugged them tighter then any other could, and whispered…

I will never leave you or forsake you.

And their hearts believed.

And the music played.